Lauren Hew carries flag as Pan Am Games conclude

| 12/08/2019
CNS Local Life
The parade of nations at the closing ceremony

(CNS Local Life): The XVIII Pan American Games Lima 2019 officially ended Sunday, with thousands of athletes and spectators attending the two-hour-long closing ceremony at Lima’s National Stadium, themed “Dance of Diversity”. The event closed out the 17-day Games in which 6,000 athletes from 41 nations took part.

The ceremony “took the crowd on a trip along Peru’s coast, over its mountains and deep into the dense forests and jungles of the Amazon”, said the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee in a press release.

Among the participants were Cayman Islands swimmers Lauren Hew and John Bodden, sailor Jesse Jackson and sprinter Kemar Hyman; and delegation officials Bailey Weathers, swimming technical director; Susan Weathers, swimming manager; Eilidh Bridgeman, chef de mission; and Jade Webster, press attaché, who marched into the stadium led by the Peruvian delegation.

At the same time, the flags of the 41 nations were presented, with Hew the Cayman Islands flag bearer for the evening ceremony.

“Lauren is a fantastic role model for all athletes in the Cayman Islands, especially young female athletes,” Bridgeman said. “Lauren’s mindset throughout these Games has been incredibly positive, even when she came down with the cold – this is why we decided to name her the flag-bearer for the Pan American Games closing ceremony.”

CNS Local Life
Members of Cayman delegation (L-R, back) Kemar Hyman, John Bodden and Jesse Jackson; (L-R, front) Jade Webster, Eilidh Bridgeman, Bailey Weathers and Susan Weathers

Although Cayman did not come away with any medals at the Pan Am Games, the athletes accomplished individual goals. Bodden earned a personal best time in all of his events – the 200m butterfly, 400m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle. Brett Fraser, who has made a return to competitive swimming after a break of more than four years, earned an Olympic selection B-standard time in the men’s 100m freestyle.

“For most of our young athletes, competing at the Pan American Games is a feat in itself,” Bridgeman said. “It has been such an incredible experience watching all of our athletes compete at these Games, especially since I have been involved in their athletic journeys for the past three years.”

At the end of Sunday’s ceremony, the Lima 2019 flame was extinguished with two dancers performing a modern interpretation of La Marinera, a Peruvian dance that symbolises romance. The flame will reignite in 2023 when the Games will be hosted in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

The remaining Cayman Islands delegation will be leaving Lima in the upcoming days. Hew and Bodden will be flying back to Cayman, while Hyman and Fraser head to Florida and New York, respectively. Jackson will be travelling to Canada to compete in the 2019 Olympic Classes Regatta. Gymnast Raegan Rutty returned home shortly after her competition ended Saturday, 27 July, during the first weekend of the Games.

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