With the 48th CARIFTA Games set to begin Saturday (20 April) many of Team Cayman’s 52 athletes have hopes of medaling in the region’s top competition. None more than high jumper Louis Gordon. The 18-year old returns from Jamaica leading all Under-20 Boys in the Caribbean, and a High School Championship to his name. However, without a medal in three CARIFTA appearances, he brings a burning desire to ensure years of hard work translate into success in front of the home crowd in his regional finale.
“This CARIFTA means a lot to me,” said Gordon. “Coming off the Champs high, hopefully I’m able to capture my first CARIFTA medal in the Cayman Islands. It would mean the world to me.”
After spending the better part of two years at Kingston College, Gordon’s journey has come full circle. Now, he has one last chance to prove his decision to leave for greener pastures was the right one.
“Leaving the Cayman Islands to go to Jamaica was a big step in terms of being able to be competitive in the entire Caribbean,” said Gordon. “Being able to train among the best, compete among the best, has really pushed me to be able to have this chance now.”
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. In March, Gordon became just second Caymanian to win a Class A individual medal at the 2019 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Grace Kennedy Boys & Girls Athletics Championships. It was Kingston College’s first boys title in ten years and their 32nd all-time. Gordon says it’s an achievement he would have never reached without leaving Cayman’s small talent pool for a country with the competition and structure he desired.
“Once your away and competing with greats it’s going to always push you to be better,” said Gordon. “Training programmes are different, strict rules, and discipline. Once you’re among greatness, you are bound for greatness.”
On the track, Gordon paired with Kingston College jumps coach Jeremy Delisser. It paid off almost immediately.
“Three years ago I was stuck at 190-metres,” said Gordon. “My coach got me from 192-metres to 213-metres in two years.”
To think, Gordon didn’t even consider track and field until one life changing Phys-Ed class at Bodden Town Primary School.
“It all started with long jump, said Gordon. “I wasn’t supposed to jump, but I said ‘let me just run and jump’. Miss Campbell said ‘do it again, let me see’. I did it again, and it turns out that I was better than the others. That day, I remember it like it happened yesterday.”
The newest memory Gordon hopes to create? Jumping a personal best of 2.16-meters on home soil to win an elusive CARIFTA gold. An accomplishment he dedicates to everyone whose stood behind him along the way.
“When I’m jumping, I’m thinking about my mom, my dad, and my whole family,” said Gordon. “I want to make them proud. Everyone who’s been pushing me, and supporting me. All my coaches.”