Sports Minister praises Olympic athletes

Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden is full of praise for the five athletes who represented the Cayman Islands at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The athletes leave the Brazilian city without any medals or appearances in the finals but swimmer Lara Butler, in what might be her last competitive race, set a national record in the women’s 100m backstroke.

Lara Butler set a NR in the 100m backstroke

Lara Butler set a NR in the 100m backstroke

Butler, along with her brother and fellow swimmer, Geoffrey, as well as sailor Florence Allan, made their Olympic debuts in Rio.

“I think the rookies all did ad well as expected under difficult circumstances and against the world’s best,” the Sports Minister told

They are all 21 years and younger, with Allan only 18 years old. She qualified by meeting the required standard, while the Butler siblings received invitations from the International Olympic Committee in July.

“A lot of critics will say they shouldn’t come until they are top of their game. I say wrong.  If you get the opportunity to come, either by qualifying or invite, you should come! The experience will set you in good stead and you won’t be over awed by the next opportunity, where you may well be more ready,” the Sports Minister said.

Also representing Cayman were sprinter Kemar Hyman and hurdler Ronald Forbes, the national record holders in the 100m and 110m hurdles, respectively. Neither advanced from the heats of their events, and in Forbes’ case, it was his first competitive race in about three months after sitting out due to injury.

Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden (file).

Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden (file).

“The vets sadly did not meet their own expectations, and in Ronald case, in particular, he proved his lion heart once more, instead of pulling out after recent injury, he battled and showed up on the day,” Mr Bodden said from Rio.

“They are both fantastic guys and we are proud of them for qualifying and being here to represent.”


The Sports Minister echoed the sentiments of Cayman Islands Olympic Committee President Donald McLean, who said participating at the Games should not just be about chasing medals for our athletes.

“For Cayman this is not so much about the medals but about representing to the best of your ability and these guys have continually done that. We can’t really in all honesty ask for more. It’s a hard task just getting here. Running well here in the world’s biggest stage is quite daunting and on any given day it can all come together for you or not,” Mr Bodden said.

Kemar Hyman ran the 100m.

Kemar Hyman ran the 100m.

He said among the lessons he has taken away from this Olympics is the need for Cayman’s best athletes to be constantly competing against top-level competition.

“This is why we can justify our Elite Athlete Program,” he said.  “The problem is getting more up to that level where they are funded under contract and have to meet requirements.”

Forbes and Hyman are the only two athletes receiving such funding from government. That’s considerably less than the seven who were part of the Elite Athlete Program in 2012. “I’m hoping as we develop our coaching and programs we will see more reach up to those standards,” Mr Bodden said.

The runners are budgeted to receive $59,138 from government during the 18-month span that started in July, $39,425 of that in 2017.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.