Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Track and field enthusiasts were treated to a spectacle of youth athletics this past weekend as Cayman Athletics (formerly the Cayman Islands Athletic Association) hosted the 2023 CUC Youth & CARIFTA Track & Field Championships on Friday and Saturday, March 3rd and 4th at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Over the years, the CUC-sponsored event has served as the final qualifier for athletes to qualify for the Cayman Islands CARIFTA track and field team. This year, the 50th CARIFTA Games will take place from April 7th to 10th in Nassau, Bahamas.
A significant number of primary and high school teams as well as local track club athletes participated in this past weekend’s championships. The CUC-sponsored event also serves as a vital training warm-up for schools participating in the Inter-Primary and Inter-Secondary Athletics Championships, which are scheduled for March 15th and March 22nd respectively.
Friday’s event began promptly at 5:30 p.m. and featured a plethora of up-and-coming track and field stars ranging from ages seven to 19 with the teen-age athletes vying for a place on the Cayman Islands Under 17 and Under 20 CARIFTA teams. Highlighting the evening’s schedule were the 100m sprint heats and finals, a favourite with athletics fans worldwide. There were also a number of field events.
One of the featured events was the Boys Under 17 and 20 long and high jumps, which included 17-year old Andrew Stone who captured gold in the long jump and bronze in the high jump for the Cayman Islands at the 49th CARIFTA Games in Jamaica in 2022.
With the 2:00 p.m. sun bearing down on competitors, Saturday’s schedule included the middle distance and 200m sprint events with a number of field events as well. The 150m Under 7 girls and boys finals were particularly exciting and it brought the large crowd to their feet as they cheered on our future track stars.
The 200m heats and finals were other favourites with spectators as the events featured members of the Under 17 4x100m relay bronze medal winning team from the 2022 CARIFTA Games.
On hand to present medals throughout the weekend’s event were Richard Hew, CUC’s President & CEO and Nichelle Scott, CUC’s Director Customer Services & External Communications.
Commenting on the weekend’s activities, Mr. Hew said, “It was wonderful to see the large number of spectators in the stands cheering on our local athletes. Congratulations to the Cayman Athletics group for a well-organised event and to the officials, CUC volunteers and the athletes for their time and participation. We are very pleased to continue sponsoring track and field and are very proud of our athletes’ achievements over the years.”
CUC has been a sponsor of track and field in the Cayman Islands for the past 44 years. 2023 marks the 37th year that the Company has been the main sponsor of Cayman Athletics assisting the association and its endeavours, particularly with the local athletics events, trials and the CARIFTA Games itself.
In tandem with sponsoring the annual CUC Youth & CARIFTA Track & Field Championships, CUC has also assisted with sponsoring the CARIFTA teams over the years. In 1995, 2010 and 2019, the Cayman Islands successfully hosted the CARIFTA Games and CUC was proud to be one of the major sponsors.
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