J'cans hail positive vibes in pre-Olympic camp

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer

Tuesday, July 24, 2012    

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Jamaica's track and field management team has hailed the morale at the pre-Olympic camp and that between management and athletes as "excellent".

Despite the presence of a number of first-timers as well as US-based athletes on the team, Merlene 'Terry' Hamilton said they are happy to see how well the athletes have come together and the bonds that have been formed.

When asked at a meeting between the management staff and media on Sunday at Lucas House on the campus of the University of Birmingham, Hamilton said the moral was "Excellent. It's a joy to see everybody coming together as one. I really feel encouraged by what I am seeing here."

The female team manager said even the management staff was working together as one, prompting a quip from technical leader Don Quarrie: "I'm getting tired of seeing Luddy Watts (another team manager)", which prompted laughter from everyone.

Watts said the vibes in the camp "could not be better", and pointed out that there were no complaints about who wanted to room with whom. He said that even at meal time, people just sit where seats are available and there were no groups being formed among the athletes.

It was also mentioned that the groups that went out in the evenings after training were diverse, with different people hanging out from time to time.

The athletes have been posting on different social media as well and there is a video on Facebook showing sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake; 400m hurdler Leford Green; 400m runner Jermaine Gonzales and shot putter Dorian Scott DJing on the practice track with the title, "Coolest team to be on".

There is also another video shot in what appears to be a lounge in the athletes' accommodation, with several members giving their views and some sending "greetings."

Among the newcomers are discus thrower Allison Randall, who appears a bit shy, and 400m runner Errol Nolan from the University of Houston who is a bit more outgoing and seems to have had a quick bond with long jumper Demar Forbes and 400m runner Ryker Hylton, both of whom attend Louisiana State University.

Nolan, who was born in the USA to Jamaican parents, seems to have no problems with communicating in creole. He competed for the USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada in 2010 where he won a bronze medal in the 400m in 46.36 seconds and was part of their winning 4x400m squad.

A second Jamaican-born runner, former Herbert Morrison athlete Alistair Moona, was also seventh in the 400m final in Canada as none of the Jamaican representatives made it to the final.

Watts said the fact that a number of the athletes have developed relationships while competing with and against each other on the American College circuit makes is easy for them to bond.

"In the past there might be differences between high and low (athletes)," he said, "but now a number of the athletes compete together and against each other on the circuit and a number of them bond and so what I have found, even though they are young, the relationships started then before they even come here."





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