The Cayman Islands Athletic Association (CIAA) held its first track meet of the year this past Saturday (16 January) in honour of the late Derek Larner.
Over 100 spectators were on hand at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex to witness the opening meet and athletes competing from Falcons, Speed Athletics, Mustangs and High Tec Tigers all paid their respects to Larner by wearing black ribbons on their tops. It was a scene Cayman’s National Track and Field Head Coach Kenrick Williams welcomed.
“I am thrilled that we have such a huge turn out in honor of Derek,” said Williams. “I am happy that people are able to come out and show their respect to him and everything that he has done for athletics in the Cayman Islands.”
While some runners ran with heavy hearts, many of them had their mind set on qualifying for major competitions like the CARIFTA Games, now that the sanction on the Cayman Islands has been lifted.
However, athletes participating on the day were unable to make any qualifying runs but according to CIAA President Lance Barnes, runners who made the standard in 2020 will still be eligible to represent Cayman in Bermuda this year.
“We had three athletes that qualified for the CARIFTA Games, which should’ve taken place but due to Covid it didn’t but those qualifications still stand,” said Barnes.
He says there is still uncertainty but he and his team are planning accordingly.
“We are in discussions with NACAC,” said Barnes. “We may change the dates but we’re not sure yet. Bermuda is still willing to go ahead with the games and they have all the necessary things in place, hotel and accommodations and so forth. We just have to wait and see.”
In addition, Williams said it’s a possibility that the meet dedicated to Larner could be an annual event going forward.
“I don’t know if anything is currently in the pipeline to really honor him with a meet but I suppose, in the near future something will be named after him,” said Williams.
The next track meet is scheduled to take place, 10am on Saturday (16 January) at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town.