Local athletes begin competition at Youth Olympics

| 19/08/2014

(CNS): Cayman’s five athletes are getting down to work in China at the 2nd edition of the Youth Olympic Games being held in Najing. Cayman is represented in athletics, equestrian, gymnastics and sailing. Following the opening ceremony on Saturday when sailor Florence Allan carried the flag for the Cayman Islands among more than 200 represented nations, Morgan Lloyd (left) was the first of team Cayman to compete. Lloyd achieved personal best results in the floor exercise and the vault in the women’s all-around gymnastic competition with a total score of 41.250 a substantial improvement from her previous personal best of 39.334.

The sailing competition kicked off on Monday but with little wind to work with, in the Men's Byte CII Pablo Bertran placed 19th in race 1 and 27th in race 2. Florence Allan placed 9th and 25th respectively in the Women's Byte CII races. On the second day Bertran and Allan, sailed conservatively and Bertran now sits 26th in the men’s and Allan 21st in the female fleet. She said. “It’s a really good competition. I’m having loads of fun and it’s really cool to meet everybody and have a really good competition.”

Bertran’s who was injured before the games said he had returned to the boat for the first time for the games.

“I was pushing my knees and every day I wore it down. It was not so much hiking in the boat, just overuse and pushing it. It was injured a week out before and the first time I sailed after that was here in China,” he added. Bertran also fought hard for position in the light breeze on Lake Jinniu, 70km out of Nanjing and finished 20th and 22nd in the day’s two races.

Polly Serpell who is riding Georgio Zan, an 8 year old Belgium warm blood horse in the Equestrian events began her team competition today with regional riders in an event that will take place over two days, with the individual jumping event following a rest period, starting on 23 August.

Serpell is the first equestrian to represent the Cayman Islands at the Youth Olympics and despite sitting her exams this summer she has been training intensively with friends lending her their horses for her to gain as much borrowed horse experience as possible. Serpell has had three days training on the horse she is riding at the competition.

Pearl Morgan will be running the 200m on Friday 22 August with the heats starting at 20:35 (CST). She will also be a part of a mixed 8x100m relay on 26 August at 16:00. The young athlete said training has been going well and training sessions at the Olympic stadium started today to allow the young sprinter to focus on starts and the stadium environment.

Alongside their training and competition the young people take part in a number of cultural and education programmes covering healthy cooking, environmental protection, digital media, agriculture and the Olympic Journey.

Reporter Jade Webster was also sent to Nanjing to take part in the Young Reporter’s programme which she described as amazing 

In the first few days Webster said she has written athletic profiles on past Olympians, attended guest speaker sessions with the President of the International Olympic Committee himself and represented the Young Reporters Programme at a press conference, where she spoke about her passion of becoming a better journalists. This week she will be attending intensive training courses in all fields of journalism (Magazine Editoials, Broadcast, Text and Social Media), with mentors from around the world, including CCN Journalist Tracey Holmes, Photographer Nick Didlick and Head of the IOC Media Operations Anthony Edgar.

Webster is staying at the Youth Olympic village with the athletes, normally journalists wouldn't be allowed to stay in the village, so this is a rare and fortunate opportunity.

"This is the real deal, this is no 'mini Olympics'” she added.

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