Cayman’s most decorated Commonwealth Games athlete sees strength in numbers ahead of this summer’s spectacle.
The XX Commonwealth Games opens in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23 and runs until August 3. The Cayman Islands will send its largest team to date, with athletes represented across seven sports: athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting, squash and swimming. For sprint queen Cydonie Mothersill-Stephens, the size of the squad is promising.
“I’m excited about the team. As mentioned, it’s the largest team we have ever taken and I am looking forward to seeing the results,” Mothersill-Stephens said. “I wish them all the best in their endeavors.”
The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee has not announced the official team members, opting to wait until the qualifying window closes in May. However, a number of athletes have been informally announced by local governing sports bodies.
For example, the Cayman Islands Boxing Association has said boxer Tafari Ebanks will make the trek and use the Games to boost his qualifying efforts for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Cayman Islands Cycling Association said Michele Smith qualified to cycle the road race and individual time trial events. According to the Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association, Bethany Dikau met the qualifying standard for the all-around event at a meet last December.
The buildup to the Games increased this month with the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay coming to Cayman. The relay began at the residence of Governor Helen Kilpatrick on West Bay Road before passing through each district in Grand Cayman. Governor Kilpatrick handed the baton on Seven Mile Beach to Cayman Islands Olympic Committee President Donald McLean to begin the relay through West Bay.
Swimmer Brett Fraser joined Mothersill-Stephens, Cayman’s 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, along with a host of athletes from disciplines such as squash and volleyball for the final leg, which ended at Heroes Square.
Mothersill-Stephens said Cayman’s presence in all aspects of the Games is necessary. “The Games are very important to our island, we have always had a presence at the Games and have done extremely well. It’s an amazing experience participating in these Games, our Olympic committee has always done an amazing job in their preparation for these Games, which gets you excited to compete as the atmosphere is always right.
“Our athletes should place great value in participating and seizing this experience and having fun, while remembering why they are there.”