Cayman runner brings silver back from Samoa

| 14/09/2015
Cayman News Service

Jamal Walton shows off his silver medal with team manager Cydonnie Mothersill

(CNS): The athletes that represented the Cayman Islands at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa will be returning home today (14 September), bringing back the first-ever medal from this sporting event, a silver that runner Jamal Walton earned in the 400m.

According to a Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) press release on the Games, Walton ran an impressive 46.46 seconds even though he was not feeling well. “I felt great about the event, but I felt a bit sick so it affected my breathing,” Walton said. “I had to fight more to gain the pace I usually would have had but I’m still excited to win the silver.”

Daneliz Thomas placed fourth overall in the javelin with a distance of 39.3m and Lacee Barnes threw 13.68m in the shot put for seventh place. Team manager Cydonie Mothersill, Cayman’s five-time Olympian, said she was very excited for the future for these athletes.

“Considering the season was finished, I think the kids had a great performance. There is a lot more we can expect from them in the future, but for being this time of the year I was very pleased,” she said. “The experience has been great for them. They liked being around different cultures and meeting new people.”

Cayman News Service

The Cayman team in Samoa

Hopkin Ebanks fought a great fight, but lost by unanimous decision against his opponent from the Seychelles. “This was my first fight in a major international Games and I got a great experience,” Ebanks said. “I have learned from the mistakes I made and now I know how to not make them again. I think it was a really close fight, so I think in the next fight it will make a big difference.”

Swimmer Lauren Hew clocked 33.36 seconds in the women’s 50m backstroke and Catriona MacRae finished in 33.73 seconds. Both also competed in the women’s 100m backstroke with times of 1:10.06 and 1:12.22, respectively.

MacRae also placed eighth in the women’s 400m individual medley and 12th in the 400m freestyle. Both swimmers have had a busy summer of events and were overwhelmed with their experience at the Games.

“I don’t think I have been swimming as well as I can, but it has been a long summer so I knew it would be tough. I am staying positive about it and enjoying the experience,” Hew said.

Up against a series of strong opponents, the men’s rugby team fell to highly ranked squads from Fiji (0-44), Australia (0-66), Samoa (0-75) and Namibia (0-24).

Rugby captain Cameron Bridgeman said he was proud of his teammates and their enthusiasm. “I think the team has improved massively since we have left Cayman. We were all very excited to get in front of the crowd and we played our hearts out,” he said.

Team manager Richard Adams spoke highly of the squad’s performance and attitude at the Games. “It’s been an unbelievable week; the progress of the guys has been superb. I don’t think I have ever seen such a drastic improvement in their attitude, commitment and excitement to play,” he said.

“When we first arrived, I told them: ‘You are not representing the Cayman Islands, you are the Cayman Islands.’” He added that he told the young men to make friends and become part of  the community.

“I think they have done that fantastically. They get along well with all of the Cayman Islands athletes and were eager to support them.”

Chef de mission Trent Christie led the team during the closing ceremony. “The Games went very well… the most important aspect of the Games for me, however, has been the relationships and camaraderie the athletes have built with one another,” he said.

“Every athlete and official from Cayman was at Jamal’s 400m final and Hopkin’s fight. All athletes have mingled and made friendships with one another and they probably would have never known each other had it not been for this event. I am very excited about the medal but more excited about how close the athletes have gotten in our time here.”

The CIOC said it is encouraging supporters to come out to Owen Roberts International Airport today at 11:45am to “welcome our athlete’s home”.

For more information and complete results, visit the Samoa Commonwealth Youth Games website.


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Category: Sports, Youth

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