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Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix to headline Cayman Invitational

| 05/04/2016 | 2 Comments
Cayman News Service

Usain Bolt

(CNS): World and Olympic Games champions Usain Bolt (JAM) and Allyson Felix (USA) will headline the fifth staging of the Cayman Invitational, which is set for Saturday, 14 May, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex and will be televised for the first time on ESPN. The meet will also welcome 2012 Olympic 100m silver medallist Carmelita Jeter (USA), Commonwealth Games 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole (JAM), along with rising stars Machel Cedenio (TRI) and Zharnel Hughes (AIA). 

Over 100 overseas athletes and 20 local runners, including Ronald Forbes and Tyrell Cuffy, are expected to compete in the one-day meet.

“It’s an Olympic year and I’m sure many of the athletes who run here will medal in Rio so we’re excited about getting a sneak preview of what to expect in August,” said Meet Director Cydonie Mothersill. “Our goal is to build a brand that is known for bringing the best athletes in the world to Cayman, not only to entertain the fans but also to inspire and motivate our local athletes. We believe this group will do just that, and we consider it a privilege to have Usain in what may well be his last year of competition.”

Bolt, the two-time defending Olympic Games sprint double champion, holds the world record in both the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19) and will run his first 100m of the season in Cayman. His last outing was at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August 2015. The Cayman Islands is also the only Caribbean country outside of Jamaica in which he has run.

“The Cayman Invitational helps to showcase the Cayman Islands’ ability to host world class events which further strengthens our reputation as a preferred sports tourism destination,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell. “This increases our brand awareness among professional travellers, which also helps to drive visitation to our islands. It helps to bring increased business to our local service providers across a broad tourism spectrum – accommodations, meals, transportation.”

Kirkconnell added that he welcomes the intense scrutiny from the international media because it provides an opportunity to show the beauty of the island and its people to the rest of the world. ESPN will be broadcasting the Cayman Invitational in its US, Latin America and Pacific Rim markets.

“From my perspective as Minister of Youth and Sports, I am looking forward to our young people being exposed to high quality athletics and being able to come out and see the world’s best on Cayman’s stage,” said Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden. “It is a wonderful achievement when we can get top notch athletes who are still in their prime to come to the Cayman Islands to perform and demonstrate their talents, and I commend Cydonie and her team for their vision.”

“I am pleased to announce that I will be competing in the 100m at the Cayman Invitational track and field meet,” Bolt said in a statement. “It will be my first international competition in 2016 and my second time running in Cayman. I always enjoy competing in the Caribbean and look forward to seeing my fans in Cayman again.”

He also added that Cayman’s, Kemar Hyman and Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole, should add to the competitive 100m event.

American sprinter Felix is considered one of the most versatile athletes because she competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m events. Currently the World 400m and Olympic Games 200m champion and holder of three World 200m titles, the 30-year-old has yet to decide which race she will run in Cayman.

“I am excited about coming to Cayman again,” said Felix, who has amassed 21 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze medals in international competitions over the course of her career. “The Cayman fans have always been so welcoming; it’s definitely one of my favourite islands to visit, and coming back will be such a joy.”

The Cayman Invitational will also be Felix’s first official season opener.

Carmelita Jeter, who participated in the 2012 and 2013 Cayman Invitational event will run her first 100m race of 2016 in Cayman. Other athletes expected to compete in various events include Natasha Morrison (JAM), Jason Young (JAM), Miguel Francis (ANT), Carvin Nkanata (KEN), Jermaine Gonzales (JAM), Delano Williams (GBR), Janieve Russell (JAM), Kori Carter (USA), Shevon Stoddart (JAM), Ristananna Tracey (JAM), Turquoise Thompson (USA), Jenna Prandini (USA) and Tyler Mason (JAM).

Lacee Barnes who recently returned from CARIFTA with a gold medal in shot put and a silver in discus was on hand for the announcement along with Dominic Dyer who won a silver medal in the 3000m and a bronze in the 1500m. Both athletes said they hope that the Cayman Invitational will encourage more support for the junior athletes and the local meets which are traditionally not well attended.

Tickets for the Cayman Invitational are on sale at Funky Tangs.  For more information call 928-2726 or email caymaninvi@candw.ky.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    These athletes charge very high appearance fees, how much is this costing, and who is paying for it?.

  2. Anonymous says:

    why is nobody raising the issue around Cydonie’s track and field coach husband? surely bolt and our own government will not want to associated with that whole mess?

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