Olympic and World champions Asafa Powell of Jamaica and LaShawn Merritt of U.S. will headline the sixth staging of the Cayman Invitational, which is set for Saturday, June 2, 2018, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
The meet will also welcome Trinidadian 200m and 400m World Championships medalist and Olympic sprinter Machel Cedenio, 2017 World Championships 400m hurdles bronze medalist and Rio Olympian Ristananna Tracey of Jamaica, World Championships medalist Rasheed Dwyer of Jamaica and Olympic and World Championships relay medalist Nesta Carter, also from Jamaica.
Eighty overseas athletes and 20-plus local runners, including 400m sprinter Jamal Walton, 100m Olympian Kemar Hyman and 110m hurdler Rasheem Brown, are expected to compete in the one-day meet.
New to the Invitational this year is the categorizing of events into Premier and Classic. The Premier events will feature the men’s 100m and 400m and women’s 100m and 200m, while the Classic events will be the men’s 200m, 110m hurdles and long jump, and the women’s 100m and 400m hurdles.
“We have another group of world-class athletes on tap this year, a good mixture of seasoned professionals and up-and-coming stars who are making their mark on the international circuit. A lot of them went to Rio and had strong showings, so it will be exciting to see them compete on Cayman soil,” said Meet Director Cydonie Mothersill. “As always, our goal is to build a brand that is known for bringing the best athletes in the world to Cayman, not only to entertain the fans but also to inspire and motivate our local athletes. We believe this group will do just that, and we look forward to welcoming them to the Cayman Islands and showing them some Caymankind hospitality.”
Jamaican Asafa Powell, age 35, specializes in the 100m event, and is the fourth fastest male 100m athlete of all time (9.72). He has broken the 10-second barrier more times than anyone else – a whopping 97 times – and is on a mission to reach 100. His former teammate Usain Bolt is second, with 35 sub-9.90 races.
Powell has represented Jamaica at the last four Olympic Games, taking 4x100m gold in 2016. He has earned outdoor World Championships medals in the individual 100m and 4x100m relay, including two relay gold medals.
American LaShawn Merritt is a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and four-time Olympic medalist (three golds, one bronze) who competes in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m events.
He holds the record for winning the 400m gold medal in the Beijing 2008 Olympics by 0.99 of a second, the largest margin of victory in an Olympic 400 final since 1896.
Tickets for the Cayman Invitational are on sale and available from Funky Tang’s at a cost of $25 for the grandstand and $35 for the finish line. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the event Facebook page @CaymanInvitational.