Bolt, Shelly in 114-strong 'CommGames' team
DOUBLE sprint champions Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce headline Jamaica's 114-strong team to the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.
The team, which is Jamaica's largest contingent to any Commonwealth Games, will see the country being represented in 11 of the 17 sporting disciplines that will take place in the multi-sport competition.
Both Bolt and Fraser-Pryce, who were exempted from last week's senior national trials for medical reasons, were only selected to compete in the 4X100 metre relays.
The 27-year-old Bolt who will be making his Commonwealth debut, has been out of competition for almost 10 months, having withdrawn from several meets earlier this year, because he felt his condition was not at his required standard.
Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce, also 27, has had some under- par performances in the Diamond League, which has led her to withdraw from a few meets so she could regain her fitness from a minor injury.
Seven-time Olympic medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown, who made a strong return to the track after being cleared of drug charges earlier this year, will lead the athletes who will take part in the women's 100-metre event at the Games.
However, Nesta Carter, who was a part of Jamaica's record-breaking 4X100-metre relays team, was not listed as he did not take part in the finals of the men's
100-metre event at the trials.
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Michael Fennell described the team as quality filled.
"We have never been represented at the Games in such a large number of sports. It comes at a time when we are struggling for a number of things, but we have ensured that we have not compromised our standards in making the team the highest possible standards in all of the sports," he said while addressing a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus yesterday.
He added: "It is not just a matter of numbers, we have quality and we are very proud of all the athletes who have been selected, and we will give them all the support that is necessary."
The largest number of the contingent is from the athletics department, which comprises 34 females and 33 males, followed by the netball team with 12 players.
Table tennis has an eight-member team, swimming --seven, cycling -- five, while badminton and boxing have four-member teams each, shooting has three members, squash -- two, triathlon two and gymnastics has one representative.
Minister with responsibility for Sports Natalie Neita-Headley told the Jamaica Observer that she has been on a campaign to ensure that the country develops the sporting disciplines in which we have not done so well. This kind of diversity, she says, makes her "very proud".
"I know that in many respects, history will be created when Jamaica's flag will be hoisted in recognition of national achievement. The team is the largest ever and arguably the strongest, and therefore our expectations and hopes are great.
"The Government of Jamaica lauds the commitment and fortitude of our athletes as national ambassadors, and thanks them for their continued contribution to the development of our country and brand Jamaica. We are ready to march into Glasgow, strong and proud, carrying the flag of Jamaica land we love," she said.