Now that they’re not running for Jamaica...

Now that they’re not running for Jamaica...

BY HOWARD WALKER Senior sport reporter at the Rio Olympic Games

Saturday, August 13, 2016

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They all said they switched allegiance because they had little or no chance of making Jamaica’s team and just wanted to make a living overseas like anyone else.

Kemarley Brown, Andrew Fisher and Jak Ali Harvey are pleased to have advanced to the semi-finals of the 100m at the Olympic Games, and though representing other nations, they have not regretted the move.

Brown, who won Heat One in 10.13 seconds, made the switch in 2015, and is now representing the oil-rich state of Bahrain, and is now realising his dream of Olympic participation.

"I have no regrets. I saw 10.02 come third at (Jamaica) National Trials and they didn’t make the team. My season best is 10.03, so it’s no guarantee if I would have been here today," Brown explained.

"In Jamaica we will always produce athletes, so if we have enough we can export and give someone else a chance to shine," Brown added.

Brown, who won his first international medal with the Jamaican 4×100 metres relay team at the 2011 Carifta Games, alongside Odail Todd, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Jazeel Murphy, explained that he is just as loved in Bahrain as he was in Jamaica.

"There is no difference, it’s the same thing. They love track and field just like Jamaicans. They are encouraging and they don’t pressure you or anything," he said.

Andrew Fisher, now representing Bahrain, clocked 10.12 seconds and was second to Bolt in Heat Seven, and he too is relishing the opportunity to be at the Olympics albeit, not in Jamaican colours.

"This is my first Olympics and I actually didn’t feel excited until last night. I am here and I didn’t feel it until my mom started to say that she is proud of me and that’s when it really hit me," said Fisher, who still lives in Jamaica.

"Jamaica has too many sprinters from my point of view. You have people out there running 10.7 and coming to this round, while in Jamaica you have people running 10.1, which couldn’t even make the final in Jamaica," Fisher noted.

"So it was a strong decision from me, even though I am a nine (seconds) person. Probably I would be in the relays or wouldn’t be at all. So if you get the opportunity, why not?" said Fisher.

Meanwhile, Jak Ali Harvey (formerly Jacques Harvey) now representing Turkey, was second behind Yohan Blake in Heat Six clocking 10.14 and advanced to the semi-finals. He also justified his switch.

"Life is a game of choices. I have choices I have to make in my life and a lot of people may not be happy or comfortable with the changes; they should allow me to live my life," said Harvey.

—Howard Walker

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