Watson lambasts team’s display
Donna Watson, Bermuda's chef de mission for the Central American and Caribbean Games, has launched a scathing attack on the team after they failed to win a single medal.
In a strongly-worded statement, Watson accused the athletes, public, media and Government of not taking the regional event in Veracruz, Mexico, seriously.
Bermuda has competed in the past ten Games dating back to 1974 but she believes the team went into this year's competition undercooked.
“I feel if we are going to enter these events we need to be committed and be prepared to compete,” Watson, who is also the president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, said.
“This is not our first CAC Games and should know what to expect. These Games are not out of our league and we could be competitive.”
After winning several medals at the last Games in Puerto Rico four years ago, many of Bermuda's results this time around make for dismal reading.
Watson was particularly critical of the Island's two most-experienced competitors in Mexico, Tyrone Smith, the long jumper, and Roy-Allan Burch, the swimmer, despite the latter shattering his own national record in the 50 metres butterfly.
Smith, the gold medallist in 2010, finished eleventh, while Burch's best result was fifth in the 50 metres freestyle.
“This has not been the best performance from Bermuda at these games,” Watson said. “I thought we could come away with a few medals, especially after we made our stamp at the last Games in 2010, coming away with five.
“I will begin with my sport. I was very disappointed with Tyrone's performance.
“A former Olympian, World Championships competitor and defending champion, I expected him to be on the podium and definitely make the finals. The three medal performances were not out of his reach.
“I thought Roy-Allan could get us a medal — ranked second going into the 50 metres freestyle finals, I figured he would be on the podium.”
She added: “I feel maybe we did not take this event serious, the athletes, the public, the media and the Government. I can assure you that Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela to name a few always take the CAC Games serious and they show you that in every event they enter.
“Yes, the event was held in November; yes, the schedule changed at times; yes, the weather may have been cold and windy but that was the same situation for every athlete.”
Bermuda's two young sailors, Cecilia Wollmann and Cameron Pimentel, were spared Watson's wrath as was Virginia McKey, the equestrian rider, who was inexperienced at CAC level.
Of the three cyclists, Dominique Mayho, Nicole Mitchell and Zoenique Williams, both Mayho and Williams failed to finish, which was not totally unexpected given the high level of competition in the region at that sport.
The Island's team sports, however, struggled badly. The women's hockey team failed to score a goal in their five games and the men's rugby sevens side lost all their matches and were spared the indignity of finishing outright last only because the seventh-eighth place play-off with Costa Rica was cancelled.
“I believe our two young competitors, Ceci and Cameron, gave it their best as this is their first experience at the senior level,” Watson said.
“Two of our cyclists did not finish their event. Our lone equestrian [rider] had a few challenges with the horse and this is her first competition. But our team sports were very disappointing.”