April 14, 2021

Swimmers are CARIFTA bound with Cayman Islands government assistance

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Minister with 2016 CARIFTA Team (2)The Hon. Osbourne Bodden, Minister with responsibility for sports met with Cayman’s 22 CARIFTA swimmers on Wednesday 16th just before they started their final team training session before departing for Martinique on Friday 18th.
The young swimmers, ranging in age from 11-17 years, listened intently as the Minister talked to them: “I know how hard you train and how much you give up to be successful at your sport,” he said. “I understand that some of you train over 20 hours a week and still maintain your grades at school — and this is something you should all be very, very proud of.”
The Hon. Minister, speaking also to parents and CIASA Directors who were there continued: “Participation in CARIFTA is a key reward for the swimmers’ years of training and is a critical motivating factor in their development. It is therefore absolutely important for the Government to assist in ensuring that they are able to attend. CIASA has stringent and high standards for qualifying and to train for 20 hours per week and meet the qualifying times but not being able to attend would be demotivating indeed. This is a process and developmental pathway that works – as has been demonstrated by those who have gone before including our Olympians Andrew MacKay, Heather Roffey and Shaune and Brett Fraser.”
When the Ministry heard that, despite on-going fund-raising. that the Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association (CIASA) might not be able to send every athlete that qualified this year they met, reviewed budgets and were delighted to be able to provide CIASA with a grant of CI$18,000.00 for CARIFTA 2016 — ensuring that every swimmer who qualified could travel to Martinique and compete.
“We wish you the very best in Martinique,” the Minister said. “I will be watching your results as you compete and assure you that all of Cayman will be cheering you on.”
CIASA President, Michael Lockwood extended his thanks to the government: “On behalf of the swimmers, their parents and the greater Cayman Islands swim family I extend my thanks to the government, to the Hon. Minister, Osbourne Bodden and to his team at the Ministry, including Joel Francis for working so quickly and efficiently on our behalf. I add my best wishes to our swimmers, to those extended by the Minister and I also look forward to cheering you on.”
The team of 22 swimmers, along with a Head Coach, two Associate Coaches and a Team Manager left for Martinique on Friday 18th. You can follow the team’s progress, as well as the live stream of finals at www.liveffn.com — the site is in French, but if you click through to CARIFTA and then click on the word Francais in the top right corner, you can select to see the site in English.
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