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CARIFTA Gold and Silver for Cayman

Front Pages 03 Apr, 2024 Follow News

CARIFTA Gold and Silver for Cayman

By Stuart Wilson

The Cayman Islands came away with highly coveted gold medals in the Men’s Under 20 - 100 meters, thanks to Davonte Howell, who defended his title and also took home the bronze medal in the 200 meters at the 51st CARIFTA Games, held in Grenada.

This was Cayman’s second gold medal for the 100 Meters and first bronze medal for the 200 Meters in the CARIFTA Games .

Both Davonte and his Cayman Islands Teammate Jaiden Reid blazed their way to the gold and silver medals honours in the race that is usually the highlight of most track and field events.

Other medalists from the Cayman Islands’ Team included Briana Smith, who placed third in the Women’s - Under 20 Shot Put event.

The Caymanian Times spoke exclusively with Dave and Kim Howell, parents of Davonte Howell, to learn more about his development and how they fostered his growth as an athlete.

“Davonte showed interest in running from the time he was 4 years old and was always running in the house, saying he was Usain Bolt,” noted his mother, Mrs. Kim Howell.

“He would never walk anywhere and would always run and there was even a time he was going so fast through the house that he ended up bumping into furniture and losing a tooth,” she added.

After showing great promise and winning the Interscholastic competition, Davonte’s parents made the decision to send him to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he continued to excel in both indoor and outdoor competition; making it to the Nationals two years in a row and achieving All American status.  

IMG Academy is the world’s leading sports education brand and boarding schools for elite athletes.

During Davonte’s time at the school, he benefited from the coaching of former Olympian Dwight Thomas, who is known for winning the gold medal in the 4x100 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, along with Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter. 

Mr. Thomas also accompanied Davonte to the previous CARIFTA Games, where he won the Gold.

Much of Davonte’s early development and continued success is attributed to his Cayman Islands Coach Tyrone Yen of the Mustangs Track Club however, who his parents, who explained that, “Coach Tony Yen has been the most instrumental in his life and still plays a huge part in his development.”

Davonte now attends the University of Tennessee, where he is a ‘freshman’, (in his first year) and currently trains under the watchful eye of coach Duane Ross. 

Having built a widely-respected reputation among the worldwide track & field community, 1995 NCAA champion, 2004 Olympian, and 2021 Co-National Coach of the Year, Duane Ross was appointed to oversee Tennessee’s combined men’s and women’s program as Head Coach and Director of Track & Field on May 24, 2022.

Regarding the natural talent of both Davonte and Jaiden, former Physical Education Teacher at the Prospect Primary Marjorie Scott noted, “Davonte and Jaiden showed promise from the time they were in primary school and were always dedicated.

“It was never a challenge to get them out to practice or on the track,” she noted.

Davonte Howell will be returning to the Cayman Islands later this year and has already posted qualifying times to compete in the World Youth Games in Lima, Peru.

Davonte comes from a family of athletes and his siblings are also budding track stars with both his sisters winning Victrix Lodorum interscholastically. His parents were also athletes and successful in the arena of track and field. 

They agree that it was not by chance that their children had been involved with sports but it was very much a family trait.

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