Local athletes head to Japan amid COVID emergency

| 13/07/2021 | 38 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): With the XXXII Olympics Opening Ceremony less than two weeks away, the Cayman Islands athletes who will be competing at the games will soon be on their way to Tokyo, though the Games will be held without any spectators due to the city’s fourth COVID-19 emergency. In an effort to contain another surge of infections across Japan, where only around 28% of the population has had a vaccine shot, the latest restrictive measures will remain in place for the duration of the Tokyo Olympics.

Cayman’s five team members include the country’s youngest ever Olympian, 15-year-old Jillian Crooks, who will be competing in the 100m freestyle. Brett Fraser (31), no stranger to the Olympics, will be competing in the 50m freestyle. On the track, Kemar Hyman Oly (31) will be racing in the 100m and Shalysa Wray (22) in the 400m. Making history is 19-year-old Raegan Rutty, Cayman’s first ever Olympic gymnast.

The Games, which will open on 23 July and end on 8 August, were postponed from last year because of the pandemic. Around 11,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to participate.

Chef de Mission Janet Sairsingh is leading the eleven person delegation, including coaches and support staff, and the Cayman team is due to meet up with her in Miami later this week. They will then undergo two rounds of COVID-19 testing before flying to Tokyo. While Olympic officials in Japan have said they expect 80% of athletes and support staff will be vaccinated. it is not a mandatory requirement.

Although there will not be a live audience, the team will be heading into the newly-built National Stadium for the Opening Ceremony with the National Flag, which was given to the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee on Saturday by Sports Minister Bernie Bush.

CIOC President Lori Powell said the athletes had shown focus, determination and commitment in these uncertain times to qualify for these Games. “Our athletes have also dedicated themselves to the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence in their sport and lives. And their reward is a well-deserved spot on Cayman’s Olympic Team in Tokyo,” she said.

Minister Bush, who has a long history with the Olympic Committee, having been an executive member for many years, said it was important that the team knows that the government is one hundred percent behind them. “We congratulate and wish them every success in what will probably be one of the greatest sporting events of their careers,” he said. “I also want to extend a very special thanks to our Olympic Committee and its staff for all the work they have done in getting our athletes ready for the Games.”

For more about the team visit the CIOC website or Facebook page.

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Category: Local News, Sports

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Government take mandatory double experimental vaccine
    Government wear a mask
    Government no tourists
    Government no you can’t leave
    Government good luck at the Olympics

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s go Cayman! So proud of you all!!! I remember the first time I saw Ms. Crooks swim. She dove in one end and in no time was out the other. I was so amazed at her speed and grace in the water that I couldn’t speak for a few seconds. I turned to my kids and told them ‘she’s going to represent us in the Olympics one day!’ A great hard-working young lady from a great, supportive family!!! Go team Cayman!!!

  3. Elvis says:

    Good luck.
    Rather them than me though. Be safe out there

  4. Roger Davies says:

    Although none of our team will get a medal they have trained hours every day for the honour of competing for their country in the greatest sporting competition on earth, and will be rewarded with an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. Congratulations to all of them for they have truly earned their place in Tokyo, we are truly proud of you all.

    • anon says:

      Perhaps the 6 (so far) dislikes could explain their reasoning to the comment from Roger Davies.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good luck! Glad someone was able to get flights off and on the island.

    • Anonymous says:

      People are getting flights so they can use Government paid quarantine upon return. Using up the seats of those who still need to come home. Pure selfishness.

      • Anonymous says:

        And mismanagement. Who will be he’d accountable?

      • Anonymous says:

        Using up the seats….? Because the government couldn’t authorise CAL and BA to provide more flights, oh no. CAL has plenty of staff and aircraft, and BA had tried to schedule and was selling seats, onl to be reined back by government. Don’t blame people seperate to travel for the shortage – its a government restriction tied to their quarantine restrictions. Entirely down to them requiring quarantine for vaccinated individuals. They are even proposing to remove the monitoring requirement for vaccinated – only not just yet – and no explanation as to what will change between then and now.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nothing will change between now and then so we may be in for some more goalpost moving.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Best of luck to the qualified athletes.

  7. Anonymous says:

    awesome job guys CONGRATS !!!!!! what an experience for our Cayman youth 15/19 yr WOW ….you guys have already WON !!!!!! just making it there, GO TEAM CAYMAN

  8. Anonymous says:

    “ While Olympic officials in Japan have said they expect 80% of athletes and support staff will be vaccinated. it is not a mandatory requirement.”

    Please tell me this is just a comment in passing, and not an indication that our athletes and delegation aren’t vaccinated!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who is paying for this “essential travel” jolly?

  10. Anonymous says:

    CNS … I do believe that it is Minister Bush … and not Minister Bernie !!!

    CNS: Oops! Thank you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good luck to the whole team . Wonderful to read something so positive in the news. Proud Cayman

  12. Anonymous says:

    How many actually qualified for the Olympics and how many were given invites to join?

    • Anonymous says:

      2 and 3

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks. I dont get the downvotes when i ask a question…

        • Anonymous says:

          I expect people were inferring that you might be drawing a line between the Cayman Olympians that met qualifying times and those that didn’t.

          There are several ways to get to the Olympics but even our qualified athletes are highly unlikely to medal or make a final.

          But the Games are meant to be about more than the three people on the podium. The games are a celebration and the mission is to improve humanity and promote world peace. All of the athletes are needed to hold the games and everyone that is selected should be celebrated for the accomplishment, even if they didn’t “qualify”

          You can watch a professional league or arguably the U.S. trials in various sports if you want to see something that is strictly about results, the Olympics are meant to be a bit more than that.

          We will see if they can pull it off with no fans and all the Covid-19 restrictions. Arguably this is going to be a made for TV event and one long commercial for Coke, McDonalds and other sponsors

        • Anonymous says:

          Hypersensitivity to criticism of Cayman or Caymanians, actual or implied. We don’t deal well with that – unless of course its bashing the government, always popular, or ills that can be laid at the door of incomers.

  13. Plain Talk says:

    Best Wishes to our Athletes, do your Best.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Best of luck! Cayman is proud of you all!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Covid isn’t life threatening for 99.997% of people

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