The Caribbean has built a reputation for producing some of the best track and field athletes in the world and Cayman is no exception.
However to see top Cayman talent racing, fans always had to travel off island, as Cayman has not hosted any top athletics meets.
In fact, Cayman’s own Commonwealth Games champion, Cydonie Mothersill, has never competed against fellow professional athletes on home soil.
Fortunately, all this is about to change. On 9 May the Truman Bodden Sports Complex will play host to some of the brightest stars in the athletics world as they build up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Thanks to the hard work of Cydonie and her husband Ato Stephens, some 80 professional athletes will descend on Cayman to take part in the first Cayman Invitational meet, which will feature a packed programme including track and field events.
The event will draw a first rate field, featuring Olympic medallists, World Champions and Commonwealth Games champions along with athletes currently ranked number one in the world in their chosen events.
Some of the top names will include the reigning men’s and women’s 100 metre World Champions, Yohan Blake of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter of the United States. In addition to her World Championships medals, Jeter is also the second fastest woman ever over 100 metres.
Another legend of the track, Kim Collins of St Kitts & Nevis, will also be taking to the track. Collins won the 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and at the World Championships in 2003, but the evergreen sprinter is still a top competitor, claiming bronze in the 100 metre at the 2011 World Championships.
One of the keys to Jamaica’s continued dominance in the 4×100 metres relay, Michael Frater is a top 100 metre runner in his own right, with a silver medal in the 2005 World Championships to his credit.
However, it is his collection of gold medals in the 4×100 metre relay that impresses, with Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Olympic Games gold, along with a world record, to his name.
There will also be top talent on show in the field events, with Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong set to compete.
He took gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as the 2011 Pan American Games and silver in the 2011 World Championships. He also holds the Canadian, Commonwealth and Pan American Games records for shot put.
Other international talent will include the like of Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica, Chris Brown of the Bahamas and Jermaine Gonzales of Jamaica.
Of course, the event could not have taken place without Cydonie, who will also be in action in her specialist event, the 200 metres.
Cydonie brought home the first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal for Cayman after her win in the 2010 edition of the games. She was also presented with her bronze medal for the 200 metres from the 2001 World Championships at the Carifta Games hosted in Cayman in 2010.
Cayman presence will include middle distance and CAC medallist Jon Rankin, sprinters Kemar Hyman and Tyrell Cuffy, 110m hurdler Ronald Forbes and long jump twins Carl and Carlos Morgan.
Cydonie says that the aim is to make Cayman Invitational an annual event and form a trio of regional pro track and field meets with the Jamaican Invitational, which takes place in early May, followed by a meet in Puerto Rico.
“With this star studded line-up competing for the first time in Cayman, we want everyone to come out and be a part of the excitement,” she says.
“I am extremely honoured and humbled to be in a position to bring an event of this level to my home country and I am looking forward to introducing my colleagues, other pro-athletes to Cayman.
Along with my team of organisers we hope to host an exciting event that will thrill audiences and attract athletes to compete on our shores year after year.”
The event has sponsorship support from the Cayman Islands Government – Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Sports along with support from DART Cayman Islands, Cayman Airways, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, LIME, DMS Broadcasting, Cayman National Bank, Water Authority and the Caymanian Compass.
Ticket details are as follows:
- Finish line area seating is $35 (adults and children)
- General seating at T.E. McField grandstand is $30 (adults) and $12 (children under 12)
- Mackie Seymour Stadium seating is $20 (adults) and $10 (children under 12).
- Tickets are available at all LIME retail store locations, Funky Tangs and JN Money Transfer.
The event will kick off with an opening ceremony at 5.45pm and from there it will be all action, with events including 100 metre, 200 metre and 400 metre sprints, as well as women’s 800 metre and men’s 1500 metre events.
There will also be hurdles, long jump and shot-put, but the events likely to stoke the most excitement will be the relays, with the men’s and women’s 4×100 metre relays wrapping up the programme at around 9pm.