The Cayman Islands finished the 2022 Commonwealth Games with a flourish with a gold medal for the squash pair of Cameron Stafford and Julian Jervis.
There were some tremendous performances by all 13 athletes who competed in six sports in Birmingham, England but the most glory goes to the Caymanian pair who on Sunday won the doubles plate final.
Teams that lost in the first round of the Games were entered into the plate round, where they then competed against each other. After dropping their first-round match to Malta, Jervis and Stafford dominated on their way to cherished gold.
Under the watchful eye of coach Sardar Ali Khan, they defeated Barbados by 11-7 points in both games to become the first squash players in Cayman’s history to secure medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Prior to their victory, Jervis, 24, and Stafford, 30, blew through their opposition, with 2-0 victories against Ghana in the quarter-finals and Papua New Guinea in the semi-finals.
“We are absolutely buzzing,” Jervis said. “It was an opportunity to display our skills and still win some really tough matches.”
Jervis, who is now a two-time Commonwealth Games competitor, won four out of his six matches.
“My last games was in 2014 (XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland), I was only about 16 years old and I came then really just idolising everyone that I played against but this time…it’s been really awesome seeing myself as a proper competitor against these guys and actually doing really well.”
He added that their performance showed they are capable of playing at a “high level” and that he and Stafford have a “pretty heavy medal” as proof.
Overall, the squash players had an excellent Games, usually against far more experienced and higher ranking opposition. Jace Jervis, Julian’s younger brother, lost in his first round singles match. Jake Kelly won his first singles game but lost in the next round of 32. Jade Pitcairn won her first round match 3-0 but lost in the next round too. Marlene West was in the women’s doubles with Pitcairn. They won their first round match but lost to the eventual silver medallists from England.
The only Cayman male swimmer at the Games was James Allison who did brilliantly in his freestyle and butterfly events. Kyra Rabess, Marlene’s teenage daughter, was in the swimming team, along with Sierrah Broadbelt, Harper Barrowman and Raya Embury-Brown. None advanced against world-class opposition but they all still did the Cayman Islands proud, often smashing their personal bests.
Artistic gymnasts Igor De Magalhaes and Karthik Adapa were outstanding again against tough opposition. Magalhaes even got to the All Round final and was placed a credible 17th.
The cycling team of Victor Magalhaes, Nathaniel Forbes and Michael Testori did well in their events.
The sole Cayman boxer was women’s middleweight rep Hepseba Angel. She lost in her only bout to a tough Canadian.
In athletics Kemar Hyman did not compete as he tested positive for Covid. Rasheem Brown’s 13.76 seconds in the 110 metres hurdles was a fine time but not quite fast enough to get through to the next round. Louis Gordon impressed with a long jump of 7.43 metres.