BIRMINGHAM, England — "We are here to do our job and we don't care what anyone else is doing," is the clear message being sent by Jamaica's male team captain Michael Frater.
While reminding an international assembly of journalists earlier this week which country had established itself as the sprint capital of the world, Frater said they were not going to be worried about what others, including the Americans, were doing.
At a JAAA/JOA press conference at the Munrow Sports Complex on Tuesday as the Jamaicans finalised their pre-Olympic Games training camp, Frater and female team captain Novlene Williams-Mills faced a number of questions about the American sprinters and 100m runner Justin Gatlin in particular.
Gatling, who came back from a four-year drugs ban last year and ran his personal best 9.80 seconds to win at the US Trials last month, has been quoted extensively in the media as saying he is a gold medal contender for the 100m race at the Olympic Games that gets underway in a few days' time in London.
"It is what it is," Frater told one journalist. "He tested positive twice, but there is nothing we can do about that, that's in the past, it's just about competing at the highest level for us. We know what we are about and we have done it repeatedly."
Frater paused, as if searching for more to say before adding: "We are not concerned about Justin Gatling right now, we are here to compete at the highest level and do our best."
Jamaica, he said, had taken what the American thought was their's, and as such, "it is us against the world now, everyone is trying to take us down, the mighty US was up there (at the top) but we are there now.
"We have targets on our backs now after what we did in (the 2008 Olympic Games in) Beijing and in the subsequent championships. The US was the sprint kings and we took them down, so we know everyone is coming after us and we are very prepared and are able to handle anything they shoot at us."
While singling out double world record holder and double Olympic sprint defending champion Usain Bolt, describing him as "something phenomenal" Frater said it was not a one man team. "We have some great guys out there who are competing very well."