Quarrie hails venue for pre-Olympic camp

Quarrie hails venue for pre-Olympic camp

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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JAMAICA's athletes at the pre-Olympic Games training camp in Birmingham, England starting on July 15, will have top-class facilities which should make getting down to the task at hand — preparing to win medals — easier, says technical leader of the Olympic team Donald Quarrie.

"The facilities in Birmingham are superb, so we won't have any problem with that at all, so it's just a matter of getting the personalities to gel and to get everyone to focus on what they have to do when the time comes," Quarrie told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

Quarrie was alluding to the fact that in the past, some members of national teams to athletic championships have complained about the types of facilities available at pre-event training camps.

In 2009, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack was forced to intervene when the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (now-Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association) barred a number of athletes from competing at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany because they had not participated in the camp held in Nuremberg.

Quarrie is not anticipating any such problems this time around.

"By and large, we anticipate that the group will gel fairly well and by the time we get to London, we figure that it will just be 'Let's do it'."

The English weather is remarkably unpredictable, and so Quarrie is hoping that the arrival of the athletes on the 15th and the stay in the Midlands will help them prepare before moving to London where the athletics events will be staged.

"We're hoping that the athletes will be able to get there, get adjusted to the weather, to the environment, and get along with each other," he said.

Several athletes, namely those from the MVP Track and Field Club, are based in Italy during the summer months.

"The preparation at the training camp is vital to some athletes because some... need that period to train leading up to the Games. A few athletes will be competing and then coming back to the camp," he explained.

The facilities in Birmingham were offered to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) years ago, which made finding a venue for the usual pre-Olympic training camp a non-issue, which has oftentimes not been the case in the past.

However, Quarrie admitted that knowing where they would be heading so far in advance does not necessarily make his job as technical leader any less challenging.

"It doesn't make it any easier because the job entails co-operation among the coaches and athletes and administrative staff," he said.

Quarrie has held that post in the past, but JAAA vice-president Grace Jackson held the post in 2011 for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Quarrie told the Observer that the local governing body's administration had decided when it was first elected that no one man would have the job indefinitely.

"We had anticipated that in 2005 a few of us would do certain things and then we would gradually move in some more people because we're not in it to take over; we're in it to build, so we want other individuals to do what needs to be done so that we cover all of the areas and in 10 years we'll still be moving along."

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