BIRMINGHAM, England — The University of Birmingham camp has been rated as the "best ever" for a Jamaican team taking part in a major track and field meet by the Jamaican management team here.
In terms of the food that is served and amenities available to the athletes, who are finetuning their bodies for the London Olympics that get underway later this week, the camp that was organised by the Birmingham City Council has been rated top-class by both the management and the athletes themselves.
Ludlow Watts, athletics team manager told reporters in a meeting yesterday at Lucas House, across the street from where the athletes are being accommodated, that "the camp is excellent; this is the best we have ever had anywhere at all".
The accommodations, he said, were "first-class" and the staff and volunteers "courteous and looked after our every need and we couldn't give them less than 100 per cent grade".
The managers agreed with the athletes that the food served was also first class. "We have a combination of a local chef and one provided by GraceKennedy and together they provide an excellent menu and first-class service that includes lots of Jamaican food," Watts said.
Watts also said food was never an issue at past international events and said the managers were surprised last year in Daegu to hear that one athlete, Jermaine Gonzales, had raised issues about the cuisine served at the village after finishing fourth in the men's 400m.
"The matter (of food) was raised in Daegu and in my view, although I was not in the village it should never have reached that proportion... the food at all international events are prepared by international caterers and the food was good, it was of a high standard and we (the managers) were surprised that the issue was raised," Watts said.
Despite the good food they are now enjoying, Donald Quarrie, another of the managers, pointed out that they would have no control over what they ate once they got to London and were housed in the Athletes' Village, starting Thursday.
"We have no control over what is served there," he said, adding they were not allowed to take any food in there either.
Watts explained that the food served in the Athletes' Villages were from a variety of cultures and international tastes. "The menus are varied and the food is of a high standard."