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Cayman Islands Government

Minister Lauds Athletes

Hon Mark Scotland, MLA

Statement to the Legislative Assembly by

the Hon. J. Mark Scotland JP,

Minister for Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and culture

Monday, 28 June

Recent Achievement by Caymanian Athletes

2010 is turning out to be a great sporting year for the Cayman Islands. Since the start of this year, our athletes have excelled in different disciplines, at different levels. But all have made us proud as they represented their country overseas and at home. I certainly hope that our outstanding young athletes will continue to build on their successes. And although most of us have heard of their achievements, I have invited a number of them here today to highlight these achievements and to honour their hard work and dedication as they are a source of National Pride to us. I hope that in doing so, it will continue to encourage them in their quest for excellence while at the same time cause others to become involved. In highlighting these achievements I also congratulate parents, coaches, teachers, volunteers and supporters in the Community generally, for their contribution in the achievements of our young athletes.

CARIFTA track and field meet

At the recent CARIFTA track and field meet, Chantelle Morrison secured the Under-17 100 metres title winning a coveted CARIFTA gold medal with a time of 11.74 seconds.

There are no doubts that greater things are to come from Chantelle. Last year, she held the title of being the fastest15-year-old girl in the world. To date, she is holding on to that title with a personal best in the 100 m sprint of 11.69 seconds.

We also congratulate the other athletes who, though they were not medallists, had many positive results at these games. Anissa Owen finished sixth in the U20 girls long jump and in the process set not only a national junior but also a new national senior record for the event with her leap of 5.59m. Kristin Dixon who has only recently started training for the 100 hurdles qualified for the finals and posted a personal best of 15.17secs in what is highly technical event. Shanique Yen though injured qualified for the finals of the U 17 400M. Melinda McLean at 15 was one of the youngest competitors in the U17 sprints yet she recorded personal bests of 12.40secs and 25.00secs for the 100m and 200m respectively.

Jorel Bellafonte set a new national junior and senior record when he clocked 1 minute 59.58 seconds. This is the first time that a Caymanian athlete has run under two minutes in the 800 M event. In the 200 M Joseph Suberan ran a personal best in a time of 21.47 secs which makes him a qualifier for the World Junior Championships later this year.

Tristan von Kerchenheim was running in his first CARIFTA Games and he returned his personal best for 3,000m in a time of 10.06.05 in the U17 boy's race. Troy Long's personal best of 22.92secs in the U17 boys 200m meant that he met the qualifying standard for the Youth Olympic Games.

Travis Webb's fourth place finish in the U20 boy's high jump with a clearing height of 2.08 metres was his personal best for the event. Andrew Frederick, Vernon Kelly and Alex Pascal were all competing in their first CARIFTA Games.

These youngsters, who were all comparatively new to the sport, recorded personal bests in the U17 boy's shot put, discus and javelin events respectively.

In the U17 boys 4x100m relay and U20 boys 4x100m relay, both teams finished fourth just outside the medals.

CARIFTA swim meet

Equally triumphant was the Cayman Islands swim team upon their return from the CARIFTA swim meet in Jamaica. There they earned nine medals, including three gold.

Two gold medals went to Coral Tomascik, in the 200 m breaststroke and 400 m individual medley (Girls 11-12), while Lara Butler won the 200 m butterfly (Girls 15-17). Coral also took silver in the 200 m individual medley and bronze in the 100 m backstroke, and Lara placed 3rd in the 400 m individual medley.

Other athletes who achieved podium places were Tori Flowers (3rd in the 800 m freestyle, Girls 13-14); Geoffrey Butler (3rd in the 1,500 m freestyle, Boys 13-14), and Seiji Groome (3rd in the 200 m breaststroke, Boys 15-17).

CONCACAF Football Championships

Last year our U17 Women's Football Team made history when they became the first-ever national football team to make it to the second round of the World Cup qualifiers. They subsequently competed in the CONCACAF Championships this March.

Although they did not progress beyond this stage they ended their campaign with a one -nil victory over Haiti, moving them to Cayman's highest FIFA ranking ever for any team. Never before in the history of the Cayman Islands Football has any other team, male or female reached that level of achievement. This is still a very young team and they certainly have a bright future.

2010 Special Olympics Latin American (SOLA) Regional Games

Cayman's Special Olympians showed their mettle in February during the 2010 Special Olympics Latin American (SOLA) Regional Games in Puerto Rico, bringing home thirteen medals, seven of them gold.

Swimmer Andrew Smilley won the 100m individual medley and 400m freestyle. Last year Andrew also proved himself to be an outstanding open water swimmer placing 107th overall out of a field of 800 swimmers in the Tiburon Mile in San Francisco - a premier international open water swim event.

In this event, he also placed third in the 19-29 age group in the non-wetsuit division in what was his first cold-water experience.

Special Olympics runner Cindy Whittaker was first in the SOLA 100m and 200m sprint events and won her shot put (3kg) event, Solomon Webster took gold in the individual bocce event and Leon Lambert won gold for shot put (4kg).

We are very proud of our Special Olympians' performances. They are proving that Cayman is a Special Olympics powerhouse in the region. This exposure and experience that the team gained in Puerto Rico will assist them in future regional and global competitions and we wish them the best of luck as they prepare for the 2011 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Greece.

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

This year we also saw Cayman's first Winter Olympian, Dow Travers, compete in the giant slalom in Vancouver, Canada. Although he didn't medal, Dow placed 69th in a world class field and his outstanding performance highlighted the opportunities that exist for our young people.

Rugby

Our U-19 Rugby team is the reigning Caribbean champion and we had two young Caymanians in the Caribbean 7's squad last year - both these achievements are products of Cayman Rugby Football Union's youth rugby academy system.

Squash

Cayman's own Cameron Stafford continues to excel on behalf of the Islands and retained his # 1 ranking in the Caribbean for the third year in succession. He was also a runner up in the Mens' invitational at the Cayman Open International Squash Tournament this year and has been selected to represent the Cayman Islands at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the Commonwealth Games later this year. We wish him every success at these games.

Elite Athletes

At present we have four talented elite athletes that represent us on the world stage: runners Cydonie Mothersill and Ronald Forbes, hammer thrower Mark Letterlough and boxer Charles Whittaker. Swimmer Shaune Fraser will become Cayman's latest elite athlete as he completes his college education this summer.

I would also like to note that Cydonie continues to take the Cayman Islands name around the world and has kicked off her 2010-11 track season with solid performances recently running a 22.70 in the Jamaica international meet for second place and 22.66 seconds for a third place finish at the Diamond league met in Doha.

Charles Whittaker picked up 25 stitches on the way to a sixth round victory over his competitor from Thailand in the Philippines recently. Over the years he has demonstrated that despite the odds Sport can be an effective vehicle in achieving your goals.

This was also borne out by two special young men who recently graduated with Masters Degrees from Middle Tennessee University. I am happy to announce that the Ministry has recently granted these two young men, Carl and Carlos Morgan, support in their quest to become Elite Athletes competing for and on behalf of the Cayman Islands in the sport of Long Jump.

Our elite athletes receive government financial support enabling them to focus on training and competing. My ministry is proud to offer these young Caymanian athletes the opportunity to further their sport careers, and in turn, our country benefits from being represented by athletes of great caliber on the international sport scene. They also serve as positive role models and take part in motivational exercises throughout various schools and community groups.

But it is for more than just performing and winning that I want to congratulate all our young sportspeople today.

As athletes, they have an important role to play. Their abilities put them in the spotlight, and as such they are in an exceptional position to serve as positive role models to others.

Joint Sport Development Programmes

On such programme is the Cayman Islands Sailing Club's school sailing courses - one of our most successful joint sport development programmes. This initiative has seen hundreds of students try their hands at sailing, many of whom would have been unable to otherwise afford sailing lessons.

The programme is also important to develop the next generation of Caymanian Olympic sailors, and in this sense, is already paying off. The Cayman Islands entered the youngest competitors in this year's Race Cayman: 11-year-old Ben Williams who competed in the Byte CII class and 12-year-old Dejean Solomon, who sailed as a J/22 competitor.

These two, as well as our other youngsters, are testament to the positive growth of sailing in Cayman.

The Ministry also sponsors a number of youth sport development initiatives in association with the Sporting Federations including the South Sound Squash Club's junior squash programme and the youth rugby academy among others.

Focus Sports- Local

The Ministry and Department of Sports partnered with National Sports Associations to support a number of youth leagues throughout the year.

Youth Football

In the U 13 league and Cup Competitions 200 youngsters participated. Winners were Cayman Athletic Sports Club. In the U 13 FA Cup Bodden Town were champions.

250 youngsters participated in the U15 League and Cup Competitions: Cayman Athletic Sports Club were winners of both league and the FA Cup.

In the U 17 league and Cup competitions 200 players participated. Congratulations to winners Bodden Town. In the U 17 FA Cup, Cayman Athletic emerged winners over Elite Sports Club.

Youth Basketball

CNB Primary School Basketball League - There were 10 Boys Teams and 5 girls' teams - involving over 180 young people.

Following the Girls Championship Match, John A Cumber Primary emerged Champions over Truth for Youth School. Alyssa Connor of JACPS was named Most Valuable Player. In the Boys Championship Match Truth for Youth School were Champions over St. Ignatius School. Most Valuable Player - Albis Amaya of Truth for Youth.

PWC Under 16 Boys and Girls Leagues - 6 boys and 4 girl's teams - over 110 Boys and Girls. The finals will be taking place this Sunday ( June 27th) at the Camana bay recreation Centre when at 3:15 Monarchs will take on Sparks and at 4:15 Boddentown will take on the Knights. I invite everyone to come out and support of youth basketballers.

Appleby Under 19 Boys and Girls Leagues - 6 Boys and 4 girl's teams - over 130 Boys and Girls. The Beachsuites Shockwaves emerged winners over the Sparks.

Youth Swimming

Locally there has been an increased participation in swimming, including the largest turnout since 2004 when 150+ swimmers took to the pool for the Annual Lions Club meet last month.

Interprimary School Swim Meet - over 400 participants from 12 schools including both North Side and East end Primary (both of which have received lessons throughout the school year from the staff of the Department of Sports with the kind assistance of the Reef Resort who have allowed the use of their pool).

Cayman Prep School won the competition, Cayman International School second and St Ignatius Primary School finished third.

Local Athletics

In Inter-primary athletic sports, 16 Schools with 600 athletes participated including Light House School. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Schools participated as a single unit. The top three schools were Red Bay followed by John Cumber Primary and Prospect Primary.

The outstanding performances came from:

  • Giovanni Foster (Prospect): Champion Boy
  • Shalyssa Wray (Savannah); Champion Girl

Intersecondary Schools Track and Field 12 schools with over 300 athletes participated.

Top three schools were John Gray High School, followed by New Horizon High and Cayman Brac High.

Champion Boy was Jouri Haylock and Champion Girl, Amanda Nelson.

Other track activities (Clubs)

On the weekend of May 28-30 the Mustang track club under the guidance of Sports Department part time coach, Tyrone Yen, traveled to Tampa Florida to take part in the 19th Annual Baytaf track and field championship. The Baytaf classic is on of USA's stellar age group track and field championship, and this year was no different as teams from the Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and host USA competed for honours.

At the end of the 3 day meet the Cayman Islands team had amassed 30 medals with a break down as follows; 10 gold, 14 silver and 6 bronze. Top Cayman athletes were Mikayla McLaughlin who took home 3 medals (gold in the 10 year old girls long jump and 200m, and silver in the 100m), Deandre Rowe- 3 medals (gold in the 9 year old boys 200m with a very impressive display of sprinting, silver in the 100m and long jump). Ashleigh Nalty- 2 medals (gold in the 15/16 year old girls' high jump and in the process set a new record in that event. She also got a bronze in the long jump).

Similarly in the Miami Classic, National Coach Kenrick Williams took 30 Athletes comprising 21 males and 9 Female.

They returned with 10 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals. There were golden performances from Vinton Wedderborn, Tiffany Cole, Denniston Thompson, Thaj Lewis, Alexandra Terry, Alexander Pascal and Dwayne Anglin. Tyrell Cuffy had a silver in the 200 and Demetri Chambers had a bronze in the shot put.

Local Cricket

Primary Schools competitions - There were 10 schools and a total of 150 children. Winners - John A Cumber 1st; George Town 2nd place, Prospect 3rd place; Red Bay 4th place.

Secondary Schools (U/15) competitions - 7 schools for a total of 105 children. Competition should be completed this week weather permitting.

I would like to take the opportunity to wish the National Senior Men's team best of luck in the International Cricket Council's World Cricket League Division 4 Competition in Italy (August 7th to 24th).

Youth Netball

Under 9 and Under 11 leagues rallies and were successful. All primary and private schools took part in these leagues and rallies with 150 students participating.

Under 9 Rally Results

  • 1st Place East End Primary
  • 2nd Place George Primary
  • 3rd Place John A. Cumber Primary School
  • 180 students took part in the Under 11 Leagues & Rallies

Under 11 Rally Results

  • 1st Place Prospect Primary School
  • Place John A. Cumber

All Government and private high schools took part in the Under13, Under 15, Under 16, Under 18 leagues and rallies.

  • 130 students participated in the Under 13 Leagues and Rallies

Under 13 League Results

  • 1st Place Heritage High School
  • 2nd Place New Horizon High School A
  • 3rd Place New Horizons High School B
  • 124 students participated in the Under 15 Leagues and Rallies

Under 15 Leagues Results

  • 1st Place Heritage High School
  • 2nd Place Leading Edge High School
  • 3rd Place St. Ignatius High School
  • 122 students participated in the Under 16 Leagues and Rallies

Under 16 Leagues Results

  • 1st Place JGH Stingers
  • 2nd Place Prep Tornados
  • 3rd Place St. Ignatius
  • 114 students participated in the Under 18 Leagues and Rallies

Under 18 Leagues Results

  • 1st Place JGHS Cruisers
  • 2nd Place Prep Dynamics
  • 3rd Place Prep. Momentum

Sports camps

In addition, there is a growing partnership between my Ministry and a number of non-governmental organizations to provide sports summer camps for youngsters island-wide.

Last summer, my Ministry strongly supported as many sports camps as possible to give parents a choice of affordable, and mostly free, activities for their children. These camps keep our children healthy and active through summer, and provide a healthy option to working parents for keeping their children engaged during the long days of summer and we hope to expand the programme this year.

As part of our goal to elevate the importance of sport in the Cayman Islands, my ministry has also worked with several associations this year as they brought international sport tournaments to the Islands. In all of these events, our local athletes had the opportunity to compete at top level, while spectators had the opportunity to enjoy different sport disciplines - all on home soil. It was clear that hosting international sporting events raises sport's profile - which is with good reason one of my Ministry's aspirations.

However, my ministry's support also stems from the fact that these events place Cayman on the map as a sports tourism destination. Already this year we have had the privilege to host four significant international sporting events: Race Cayman which included the Byte CII Midwinter and North American Sailing Championships, and was also a qualifying event for the Youth Olympic Games, CARIFTA, the region's premier junior track and field event, The NORCECA volleyball tournament that brought together top players from the Caribbean and the Americas, and The Cayman Islands Squash Open.

And so, when we then talk about sport development in the Cayman Islands, it is not only our athletes that deserve praise - I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to our Sporting Organizations within the community.

But why am I sharing all this with you today? Firstly, at a time when our youth feel increasingly marginalized, it is vital that we highlight and celebrate their achievements; Secondly, their achievements and the commitment from our sporting organizations show that we have the resources and capacity to grow Cayman's talented youth.

And so in conclusion, I reiterate the importance of my Ministry's continued support for sports projects, programmes and events that build up and support our youth.

We must persist in developing the vast pool of talent we have on these small islands and we must provide creative and active outlets for our youth's energy.

If we continue to support their development, we will allow them to dream, achieve and inspire as they grow to take their places as responsible and productive adults.