Mustang sprinters ready to run at Youth Olympics

Mustang Track Club teammates Gary Rankin and Danneika Lyn are headed to the Youth Olympic Games.

A pair of rising track and field stars from the Cayman Islands are ready to put their best effort forward for the world to see at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games that begin this Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sprinters Danneika Lyn and Gary Rankin, both of Mustang Track Club, are two of the three athletes who will represent the Islands at the 6-18 October games. They will both compete in the 100m. Also competing for Cayman is swimmer Jordan Crooks. stopped by a training session at Truman Bodden Sports Complex as the pair of teenage runners were put through their paces by their coach, Tyrone Yen.

Rankin and Lyn share a smile during a break from training.

“Both athletes have been training exceptionally well,” Yen said. “They are focused with the one-on-one training that they have been getting.”

Rankin, 17, said he looked forward to competing on the world stage but acknowledged that will be a big step from the meets he has become accustomed to.  “We did CARIFTA but that is different from Youth Olympics. We have more experienced runners [there], so Coach is getting us prepared for that level,” he said.

Rankin was elated to have been selected to represent the Cayman Islands and said he plans to use the opportunity to stride towards his goals. “For me it means a lot because this is a new experience for me and I’m hoping to get scholarship offers while I’m there because I would like to have a career as a professional sprinter,” he said, adding that he hopes to lower his personal best time of 11.18 seconds.

“Coach has been giving me a lot of training for the past four months and I’m quite confident that I can hit 10.90 or lower this season.”

Danneika Lyn wants a PB in Buenos Aires.

Meantime, Lyn said she was ready to put her training onto the competitive track. “I’ve been training hard over the past couple of months and during training I tried to develop more speed throughout the workouts. Last year, I wasn’t training hard enough but this year, I am putting more work into it.”

The 2018 CARIFTA Games silver medallist in the 4x100m relay also noted that the stage will be larger this time around. “I am looking forward to the experience. Although we went to CARIFTA, that was just with the Caribbean but Youth Olympics is a bigger stage…but I’m planning to run a PB and maybe even get a medal,” she said. Her best time is 12.6 seconds.

Yen said having each athlete achieve personal bests is his goal for them in Argentina. “If they advance to the next rounds, it would certainly be a feather in their caps and for the Cayman Islands,” the coach said, adding that he’s happy with the preparation and the focus the athletes have put in during training.

Rankin was 18 and Under Boys champion at the 2018 Inter-Secondary Track and Field Meet.

The Cayman Islands first competed in the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore. This Youth Olympic Games will the third. Cayman’s only medal came four years ago in Nanjing, China when equestrian athlete Polly Serpell won bronze alongside her team of North America which included Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador in the team jumping event.


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