Chicken pox keeps O'Hara in Bahamas

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Thursday, April 04, 2013

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THE Jamaican track and field contingent returned from the 42nd staging of the CARIFTA Games on Monday one short after sprinter Michael O'Hara stayed behind as he was not allowed to travel with the team after he was diagnosed with chicken pox soon after arriving in the Bahamas last weekend.

According to team manager, Jeffrey Gordon, O'Hara a first-year Under-20 athlete who won three gold medals for champions Calabar high at the recent ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' Championships, was left in the care of his mother, who had travelled with the team, in a hotel.

They are expected to return on Sunday.

The team returned to Jamaica on Tuesday with 69 medals after topping the tables for the 29th straight time and 37th time overall. The Bahamas has topped the medal tables four times, with Bermuda the only other country to win when they hosted the fourth staging in 1975.

The Calabar High athlete, who was expected to contribute significantly to the Jamaican cause, was diagnosed with the infection on Friday morning after he complained to team doctors that he was not feeling well.

Gordon said that with the help of Jamaican diplomats in The Bahamas and a Jamaican civic group that called themselves The Hummingbirds, arrangements were made for O'Hara and his mother to remain in The Bahamas at an all-inclusive hotel.

Arrangements were also made, he said, for airline ticket changes to be made for them to return on Sunday.

Gordon noted that the diagnosis had caused some initial "drama" in their efforts to secure the athlete and try to prevent any possible spread.

With the hotel already filled to capacity due to the championships, as well as a number of American students on Spring Break holiday and compounded by the shortage of extra beds or cots, they had to find means to make sure all the athletes were accommodated.

He said O'Hara roomed with another athlete who had the infection already, before other arrangements were made for him the following day.

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