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CIG Department of Sports Honours Marlene West “Legend”. Consistency

By Flynn Bush


“It’s easy to think of my accomplishments and my world ranking of #71 first. However, I think the two things that stand out the most for me is the legacy of my work ethic, and that I stayed at it long enough for my children to experience and appreciate the benefits of that instead of just hearing, and trying to learn from, stories of ‘back in the day’. They have witnessed me sweat/hurt and sometimes cry; they have lived the hours I have put in and they have witnessed the success that has come from it.” That is the answer given by Marlene West when asked what she is most proud of with regard to her involvement in sport/fitness. When athletes are asked that question, the common tendency is to recount specific accomplishments achieved or accolades received. However, Ms. West is a lifelong athlete who has achieved extremely high heights in multiple sports, and one who has worked hard to prolong her level of prowess, so her answer is definitely fitting.

Swimming was the first competitive sport for Marlene as a child. She rose to the level where she was able to represent Jamaica as a national swimmer for ten years. She was even the Captain of the national Jamaican water polo team. About swimming, she says that, “Many positive lifelong attributes were learnt as a result of that sport.”

Eventually, there was a shift to squash where Marlene’s pattern of achieving national prominence was repeated. She was so successful that she ended up as a National representative from 1987 to present day (Jamaica from 1987 to 2006 and the Cayman Islands from 2010 to present). The list of achievements by Marlene in this sport reads like an old Encyclopedia Britannica but, a small summary of them would be in order. She won medals at multiple CAC games (Mixed Doubles Gold Medalist in 2014 and Silver Medalist in 2018); earned medals in several Island Games (Triple Gold Medalist in Team, Mixed & Women’s Doubles in 2013, and Team Bronze Medalist and Mixed Doubles Silver Medalist in 2011); and competed in several Commonwealth Games. Was ranked either number 1 or number 2 in the Caribbean region from 1993 to 2004 (#1 from 1993 – 1995 & 1999 – 2004 and #2 from1995 – 1998). Notably, her success attributed to her attaining a World ranking of #71, as well. Most recently, Marlene won a Mixed Doubles silver medal in the Pan American Championship held here in Cayman last year. With all this success and the plethora of accomplishments that could not be listed in an article this length, Marlene West has ascended to ‘Legendary’ status in this region.

While still being involved in competition and training for competition, in one sport is a lot for anyone, Ms. West did not settle there. Over her entire tenure as an athlete, she has been developing in other aspects of sports as well. She has been coaching in one form or another for decades including as a football coach (another sport she played) and assistant national swim coach for the Cayman Islands at the 1996 to 1998 CARIFTA Games. Evolution led Marlene to branch out and to begin coaching in the fitness realm as well. Beginning in 1995, she has amassed many different coaching certificates in areas ranging from aquatic exercise to fitness to indoor cycling (spinning) to CrossFit. As to frequency of her application of these certifications, Marlene says, “I Coach & instruct everyday with the exception of Sunday. My training varies from 5 – 10 sessions a week depending on whether I am training for an event or just general health and fitness.” Her success as a coach, trainer, and entrepreneur means that she has been able to help a multitude of women, children and men.

There is little doubt that Ms. West has achieved greatly as an athlete, and that she has given back to the community as a coach/trainer/entrepreneur. However, the consistency with which she is able to stay at the top of her game in all of these facets, and to endure the test of time, is remarkable. This fact is inspiring and is the main reason why the Cayman Islands Department of Sports has chosen to highlight her and to name Marlene West as a 2019 Honouring Women’s Month (HWM) award recipient.

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Farida Tavares

17 Mar, 2019 01:23 AM

Wow! Let’s hear it for the dedication to health and fitness programs for women in the Caribbean. The recognition that goes with this is no less important!

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Farida Tavares

17 Mar, 2019 01:22 AM

Wow! Let’s hear it for the dedication to health and fitness programs for women in the Caribbean. The recognition that goes with this is no less important!

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16 Mar, 2019 12:22 PM

Well-deserved Marz.. sooo proud of you my friend...

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