Jamaican to the bone

Foreign athletes with J’can connection proud of ancestral home

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 20, 2016






PORTLAND, USA — When the athletes in the third and final heat of the women’s 800m stepped on the track inside the Oregon Convention Center on Saturday morning Pacific Central Time, two athletes with Jamaican links were on the track.


Three-time national champion Natoya Goule wore the Jamaican uniform, while 22-year-old Adelle Tracey, who represented Great Britain, wore a bracelet on her wrist with the Jamaican, British and United States flags, representing her ties to all three nations.


Adelle was born in Seattle, Washington, in the United States, when her Jamaican father Nicholas was studying art there on a track scholarship and met her British mother.


Nicholas, who was a quarter-miler who was good enough to represent Jamaica College at Boys’ Champs in the 1980s, earned a scholarship to Washington State where he had a decent career, also representing Jamaica at the senior level.


Adelle is just one of several athletes with Jamaican links representing European countries competing at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.


Odain Rose, who ran the men’s 60m for Sweden, and Jamille Samuel, who is the other Dutch athlete in the women’s 60m along with pre-Championships favourite Dafne Schippers, were both born in the eastern end of the island before moving with their family to Europe.


Rose told the Jamaica Observer he was born in Port Antonio, but moved with his mother to Sweden at the age of three, while Samuel, who has been in the Dutch system for about a decade, hails from St Mary. Both claimed they have kept touch with their relatives in Jamaica.


Adelle, who thinks she is related to the Tracey sisters — Ristanana and Nikita — neither of whom she has met, but said "We are Facebook friends".


The British runner, who is a university student and who works part-time as a make-up artist, said she lived in Jamaica with her parents in Bethany, Manchester, and attended school in Mandeville up to age seven when she and her sister moved to England with their mother, who also founded the Leaf of Life school in Mandeville.


Rose is just one of several Jamaican-born men running for Sweden, including Austin Hamilton, who was a finalist in the men’s 100m at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon.


Other runners with Jamaican connections here are Benjamin Olsen and Andrew Hammond, both of whom are in the short sprints and said "we look up to Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell".


Rose got the chance to meet Powell prior to the start of the men’s 60m on Friday and described the former world record holder as a "real cool guy".


The 23-year-old Rose, who has lived in Sweden since age three, appeared to welcome the chance to speak the Jamaican Patois, even in a heavily tinged Swedish accent. "Me is a real country bwoy. I come from Port Antonio," he said.


He said his mother met a Swedish man when he was three and moved to Sweden. "She wanted a better life, so she went there and we just stayed."

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