The Cayman Islands Athletics Association (CIAA) welcomed former Grenadian national thrower Paul Phillip to the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in an effort to train the programme’s future shot put, javelin and discus competitors.
“The CIAA is committed to the development and preparation of our athletes for the 2019 CARIFTA Championships, and in so doing, we will bring on board some of the best coaches available to assist in various disciplines” said President Lance Barnes.
Phillip, 44, placed an all-time best fourth overall in shot put at the Central American & Caribbean Games during his amateur career. He says, however, after spending a week with Cayman’s athletes, the Athletics programme needs to install key building blocks.
“I have coached a number of athletes who have won over 36 medals at CARIFTA, with people the same size or smaller than these. It really takes a small technical base and a good strength and conditioning programme.”
Phillip added, however, he sees potential in the overall collection of athletes currently training in field events.
“The talent is there, and it looks good for the future. There are a few who are really looking as if they can, between now and the time for CARIFTA, make the standards. The standards aren’t very far off right now.”
13-year old Clifton Hunter High School student YaNelli Dawkins says she was happy to hear a fresh voice, and was able to implement Phillip’s teachings.
“My techniques have improved” said Dawkins. “I didn’t think I could do the full turn, but I did it, and I did it well. Normally I stop in between and give up, but he kept pushing me. This coaching is something new. When you get used to the same thing, you get lazy. When you get new coaching, you want to keep on practicing.”
Throwers like 15-year old Kylie Porter of Wesleyan Christian Academy say they want to hit the 2019 CARIFTA standards in hopes of competing in front of their home crowd: for themselves, and for the people that have supported them along the way.
“It would mean a lot, because then I can make my grandparents proud, and my whole family” said Porter. “Especially my grandfather, who was into sports before he passed.”
John Gray High School’s Brianna Smith said Phillip’s training was an opportunity to start from scratch, and refine the basics.
“I’ve learned about the triple extension. I’ve learned how to place the shot put better. I have more ways to practice with the ball.”
A positive step forward for Cayman’s future CARIFTA athletes.