As just one of two Caymanians to medal at the Commonwealth Games, 45-year old Kareem Streete-Thompson has high hopes for a programme that oversaw his success as a junior.
“There are certain sports on island that are flourishing,” said Streete-Thompson. “I want to see athletics grow in that vein.”
CIAA President Lance Barnes says the former national long jumper’s visit, a camp that included both coaches training and under-16 tutelage, was part of a concerted effort by the Association to both engage talented evaluators, and accelerate its youth development on the road to the 48th CARIFTA Games in the Cayman.
“Just to have him here, on the field, it’s awesome,” said Barnes. “I believe having Kareem here is a wonderful opportunity. He’s well known not just in Cayman, but around the world.”
After leaving Cayman to pursue a career in coaching over a decade ago, Streete-Thompson, now an Assistant Head Coach with the University of Texas-San Antonio, says Caymanians have done well for themselves considering, what he says, has been an association marred by various financial and organizational hurdles.
“For a sample size as small as Cayman, I think Cayman has been able to produce individuals who are capable of being world class year after year after year,” said Streete-Thompson. “Having been through it myself, I know the core of this programme has athletes and coaches that are 100% committed to what they are doing, despite the lack of resources and organization.”
Barnes adds they’ll continue to expand opportunities, finance permitting, for young athletes in Cayman just four months away from the CARIFTA Games. They include a handful of competitions in Jamaica.
“It’s going to cost a lot, but it’s required,” said Barnes.”It will be six meets, in addition to what we will have here. Then we will have CARIFTA trials, qualifying in March, then there will be a second option again just before CARIFTA.”
The ‘Bodden Town District Meet’ kicks off the athletics season January 12 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.