MANDEVILLE, Manchester — President of the Jamaica Football Federation Captain Horace Burrell believes the country is indebted to the athletes for the publicity gained from their performances at the London Olympics.
Jamaica, led by sprint sensation Usain Bolt, recorded their best ever medal haul (12) at the London Games after claiming four goals, four silvers and four bronze.
Burrell, who witnessed the Games firsthand while serving on FIFA's 19-man Committee for Olympic Football Tournaments, said the benefits will be far-reaching.
"I think Jamaica is better off today because of the performances of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the other athletes in London. Therefore, I think Jamaica is indebted to (them)," said Burrell while speaking at Thursday night's award ceremony of the Manchester FA in Mandeville.
He added: "If ever I was proud to be a Jamaican it was during those moments in London. It is very difficult to describe, but it is not something to be taken lightly, trust me. At one point, everybody was talking about Jamaica."
Burrell, a vice-president of the Jamaica Olympic Committee, also praised the government for sending an official party to London to further promote the country. He thinks "brand Jamaica is better off today because of it".
"I also want to thank the Prime Minister (Portia Simpson-Miller) and the Government of Jamaica for sending a team to the Games to take advantage of all the publicity," he said.
"Over the years, we have had some negative publicity in (England). Every time the name Jamaica comes up it would be (linked) to drugs and violence, but I can tell you today that because of the performances of our athletes all of that bad news have been erased.
"Having attended some of the functions at 'Jamaica House' I can tell you that it was (worthwhile) and I believe in not too long from now we are going to see some tremendous benefits.
"Brand Jamaica has benefitted tremendously from the exposure and the performances of our athletes in London and I do believe you will start to see more tourists from Europe coming to Jamaica because of what took place in London."