BIRMINGHAM, England — Quarter-miler Novlene Williams-Mills says she was “surprised” to be chosen as the female captain for the Jamaican Olympic Games track and field team, given there were so many others in the team who she thought were better qualified to take on that position.
Despite the surprise, the former Ferncourt High runner says she is honoured to be chosen along with sprinter Michael Frater, who was selected as the male team captain at a meeting of the track and field delegation at the pre-Olympic training base on the University of Birmingham on Sunday.
While this is the first time Williams-Mills was chosen, it was the second for Frater, who held the position last year at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
At a media day held at the Munrow Sports Complex running track yesterday, Williams-Mills, who will contest the 400m and the 4x400m relay after winning the title at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Trials, told the Jamaica Observer: “It is a real honour for the group to come together and recognise and choose me (as their captain),” she said. “I was really surprised, but it is an honour,” she said, adding that she was caught unawares as “there were so many great athletes on the team who are leaders in their own right and can carry out that role”.
While admitting she was yet to be briefed as to what her duties would be, she said she was always ready to help “keep the team members motivated and I know they will do their part. We have a team of great ladies here and I know they will do well”.
Frater, who was fourth in the Men’s 100m final at the Trials, was on his way back from Poland where he competed at the weekend.
“I think it comes with great responsibility and I have shown the class, determination and leadership over the years and hopefully, I can lead by example and have a wonderful Olympics,” he told the Observer.
The 30-year-old sprinter who has a degree in Political Science said he might have got the nod over others given his vast experience.
“I have been doing this for a while and have shown dedication and hopefully, this can rub off on some of the youngsters,” he said.
Even though he was not present when the deliberations were taking place, he said he gladly accepted the honour.
“It’s an awesome feeling when people trust you with leading the nation’s team,” he explained.