By Staff Writer
The Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) held a special watch party at the Westin Grand on the Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman to mark the launch of this year’s Olympics; held in Japan.
Scores of onlookers showed up to enjoy the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and show their support for the Caymanian athletes who will represent the Islands in the games, as well as the contingent accompanying them.
With 206 countries participating in the Parade of Nations - following the Gojūon order of Japanese strokes, based on the names of countries in Japanese - the Cayman Islands was listed as the 63rd country to march; just before Croatia.
The schedule for Cayman’s athletes is as follows:
• Raegan Rutty competed in the Artistic Gymnastics on Sunday, July 25th.
• Jillian Crooks will swim the 100m freestyle on Wednesday, July 28th.
• Brett Fraser swims the 50m freestyle on Friday, July 30th.
• Kemar Hyman will kick off the 100m sprint in his preliminary round on Saturday, July 31st.
• Shalysa Wray starts in the preliminary round for the 400m on Tuesday, August 3rd.
No stranger to the Olympic stage, competitive swimmer and 2011 Pan American gold medalist Brett Fraser is gearing up for his third Olympic performance at Tokyo2020.
“Although qualifying more than a year ago, Fraser has continued to train meticulously despite the global pandemic,” according to CIOC officials, who noted that Fraser has been preparing for the OlympicGames since early 2019.
Having stepped away from competitive swimming for more than five years. Fraser qualified for the Games at the 2020 Geneva International Challenge Meet with a B standard Olympic time of 22.54 seconds in the 50m free.
TeamCayman has already broken a handful of barriers for the upcoming Olympic Games, including seeing Cayman’s first-ever Olympic Gymnast, Raegan Rutty and Cayman’s youngest Olympian, 15-year-old, Jillian Crooks.
One of two swimmers on the Cayman Islands Olympic Team headed to Tokyo2020, Crooks,has already represented Cayman internationally at 6 meets and holds more than 100 Cayman Islands Swimming Records: 16 CIASA and 20 National Girls Long Course (50m); 32 CIASA and 40 National Girls Long Course (25m) records.
She, along with Olympic team members, Shalysa Wray, (aethletics) and Raegan Rutty, (gymnastics), received an invitation from the Olympic Games Tripartite Commission to compete at her first Olympics.
At only 19 years old, Rutty has made history by becoming the Cayman Islands’ first EVER Olympic Gymnast.
Rutty has been working towards this Olympic goal since she was 4 years old and in order to obtain that goal, she trains more than 1,00 miles away in Katy, Texas with Grace Gymnastics.
Though her performance will not be seen live by spectators, due to the Global Pandemic, CIOC representatives said she is counting on the energy from her coach, Eddie Umphrey to sustain her during competition.
Kemar Hyman qualified for the Summer Games in 2019 after running the 100 metres in 10.02 seconds at the Johnny Loaring Classic in Canada, whilst Shalysa Wray will be representing the the British Territory in the 400 meters.
With no spectators on hand, every precaution has been taken by officials to pre-empt the possible spread of COVID-19 and make this summer’s games a success.
CIOC officials noted, “We have ensured that only the necessary personnel from the Cayman Islands will be travelling to attend the Games. Before travelling, all members of the Cayman delegation will receive multiple COVID-19 tests and will be subject to strict protocols to ensure everyone is safe as possible.
“Unlike previous Games, the athletes and officials will immediately have to return to the village once their event is over and then depart to their home country. However, these rules are in place to allow the athletes to compete safely in their respected events.”
They added that, “Our athletes may not hear cheers from family, friends and fans in the stadiums, but through screens and heartfelt support, their fantastic performances will be enjoyed by people on the Island and worldwide.”
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