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Cayman’s Athletes Start Their Olympic Quest

Cayman’s Athletes Start Their Olympic Quest
Lara Butler set a national record in the 100m backstroke.

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Lara Butler registered both a personal best and new national record of 1:04.98 in her 100m backstroke event, and brother Geoffrey took first in his 400m freestyle heat with a time of 4:07.87, but Cayman’s Olympic siblings did not qualify for their respective semifinals in their weekend races.

Next up on the Olympic calendar is sailor Florence Allan, who begins five days of competition today (8 August) alongside 36 other athletes participating in the woman’s Laser Radial. Track athletes Kemar Hyman (100m sprint) and Ronald Forbes (110m hurdles) start their Olympic runs 13 and 15 August, respectively.

Allan discussed the sailing conditions with which she is dealing, in a Cayman Islands Olympic Committee press release. “It’s really difficult to know what to expect here because the bay is such a challenging place to sail. It could be windy, it could be light winds, there could be lots of current, there could be none. It’s really difficult to predict that so I’m just trying to keep an open mind and just be ready for anything come Monday afternoon.”

Allan and her coach, Raphael Harvey, travel more than one hour each day to the Olympic sailing venue, training for two to three hours.

Before taking part in the opening ceremony on Friday, 5 August, she spoke of nerves due to the “entire world watching”, but added, “(I)t’s really exciting as well and it just make me appreciate how incredible these Games are and how far they reach across the world.”

Ahead of his event, Geoffrey Butler discussed what it means to be in Rio on the world’s largest sporting stage. “[The Olympics] mean everything. I’ve being waiting to come to the Olympics since I was 8 years old and just to compete in the Olympics is a massive dream for every athlete really,” he said.

“I mean I can’t think of a sport where kids don’t want to be at the Olympics…it’s just a huge, huge deal to be here.”

Cayman’s Olympic squad is staying in the largest athletes’ village ever, stretching across one mile, with 31 new buildings of up to 17 floors each, with a total of 3,604 apartments. Along with the more than 10,000 athletes, the Olympic Village will house officials from national delegations, including coaches, doctors and psychologists, so at some point during the Games about 18,000 people will call the village home.