As Cayman’s Ronald Forbes begins training for the 2018 track and field season, the country’s Olympic flag bearer has begun to ponder life after track. Forbes says he hopes to transition into a mentorship role, something he says Cayman has lacked in previous years. Forbes goes onto say key elements in today’s sports landscape such as social media are completely missing.
“If you try to look up what track and field is in the Cayman Islands, it’s almost like a ghost society, and I hate to use that term, no one can support something that they don’t know exists.”
Forbes, who is a graduate and scholarship recipient of Florida International University says there’s a gap in mentorship for student athletes wanting to make the leap to the collegiate level.
“They don’t really how to apply for a scholarship, what a scholarship even is, where to go, how to go there, what do coaches look for.”
In speaking with CIAA President Lance Barnes, he echoed Forbes’ sentiments, pointing to the success neighboring athletes enjoy when growth initiatives are in place.
“Let me give you an example, Turks and Caicos, last CARIFTA we finished 7th I believe, Turks and Caicos received one medal or non at all, but yet three of their athletes received scholarships from the US, we had seven medals and they had no medals, probably one, and three received scholarships, what does that tell you? We have to create a system for our kids, and parents need to be involved as well.”
However, growth initiatives have began to shape in the United States for Cayman’s athletes. Barnes’ daughter Lacee recently began school at the University of Texas San Antonio on an athletic scholarship, home of former Caymanian sprinter and current Associate Head Coach of Track and Field Kareem Streete-Thompson, someone who both Forbes and Barnes say have had an tremendous impact on the success of athletics in Cayman.
“At UTSA you know, he’s an ambassador to these islands, he talks about the Cayman Islands every time” said Barnes.
“He has played a pivotal role in the mentorship of not only myself but Kemar Hyman, and now Lacee Barnes, and hopefully in the future other athletes in the Cayman Islands” said Forbes.
The future of athletic administration lies in the hands of individuals such as Barnes, Forbes and Streete-Thompson. From first glance, it may be back on the right track.