Keep on pushing!

Keep on pushing!

Ja's bobsleigh team incorporates MINI into training sessions

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonitto@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 05, 2020

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COVID-19 is no match for the ingenuity and indomitable spirit of Jamaica's two-man bobsleigh team. Team members Shanwayne Stephens, 29, and Nimroy Turgott, 27, are keen on keeping their 2022 Winter Olympic hopes alive.

Unable to visit the state-of-the art training facility at Bath University in England, the duo has resorted to pushing a MINI Cooper through the streets of Peterborough in order to keep in shape.

“We come from a foundation of embracing the possible and not empowering the challenge that is obviously before us,” Nelson Christian Stokes, chairman of Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

“We're in the midst of a global pandemic. We have new rules of engagement, primarily about being able to interact in groups, which is fundamental to training and sport, and which presents a larger challenge to the sporting community generally, but we're just solving what we're faced with in our little corner of the world. They need to do some push training and they can't go to Bath, so Shanwayne looks at his girlfriend's MINI and says: 'What can we do with that?' So they are there training,” he continued.

According to the chairman, the MINI Cooper proves quite convenient in getting some of the power-work training done.

“It's small enough; I mean you don't want to push a Cadillac, and small enough to fit the billing...It provides you enough power training. And it's psychologically good, because you're doing something that is working your muscles,” he said.

MINI is a British automotive marque founded in 1969, owned by German automotive company BMW since 2000, and used by them for a range of small cars. The MINI Cooper has a 1.5-litre, 3 cylinder, 136-hp/100kW petrol engine, while its diesel counterpart comes with a 1.5-litre, 116-hp/85kW engine.

In Jamaica, the MINI is distributed by ATL Autobahn — a subsidiary of ATL Automotive.

“We had to come up with our own ways of replicating the sort of pushing we need to do. So that's why we thought: Why not go out and push the car?” Stephens said in a Reuters interview.

“We do get some funny looks. We've had people run over, thinking the car's broken down, trying to bump-start the car. When we tell them we're the Jamaica bobsleigh team, the direction is totally different, and they're excited.”

Stokes, a founding member of Jamaica's bobsleigh team, has been head of the federation since 1995. He is no stranger to the challenges of participating in a winter sport and living in a tropical country. Having competed in four Olympics with his brother Dudley, he penned Cool Runnings and Beyond — The Story of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team about his team's debut in 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. The book was the basis of the American comedy film Cool Runnings in 1993, which starred John Candy, Leon Robinson, Doug E Doug and Malik Yoba.

“We do what we can do with what we have and what is in front of us. It's a simple thing, but it depends on your mindset,” Stokes added.


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