J'cans settling seamlessly into Athletes' VillageTuesday, July 20, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
So far, so good.
That seems to be state of mind of the handful of Jamaican athletes who have already arrived at the Athletes' Village at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, according to chef de mission Gary Peart.
“No complaints so far, the food is good, the bed is firm, despite what people say, it's pretty innovative and we continue to prepare for the arrival of the majority of athletes, but we have athletes and their coaches here; room allocation is going well, allocation of the gear is going well, so we are moving along,” Peart said yesterday.
At the time of filing this report last evening, five athletes had arrived at the village and were settling in seamlessly from their long-haul flights.
“Ebony (Drysdale-Daley, judo) came in first followed by Ricardo Brown, the boxer. He flew in out of Canada. They were followed in by Danusia (Francis), who is the gymnast, and yesterday we had Keanan Dols, the swimmer, and then the last person in was Alia Atkinson, the other swimmer, so the village is filling up pretty nicely,” added the delegation boss.
Peart; deputy chef de mission Peter Higgins, COVID Liaison Officer (CLO) Elaine Hayden; Lisa Jondeau, deputy CLO; Gregory Hamilton, logistics; Walter J Davis, games specialist; and doctors Lincoln Cox and Kevin Jones had arrived well ahead of the athletes.
Drysdale-Daley became the country's first-ever competitor in judo to qualify for the Olympic Games, and the 26-year-old Britain-based athlete will take the floor for competition in the 70kg category next week Wednesday.
She told the Jamaica Observer that her journey to the Far East was incident-free and she's taking everything in stride.
“Travelling to Japan has been really smooth due to the paperwork provided by the team around us. That was great. Training in itself has been really strenuous due to the COVID. We've just been able to start training, and now generally just pushing forward with what we have.”
She also noted that the rise in cases of COVID-19 at the village has not impacted her negatively.
“Re: rising COVID cases in the village, I don't feel any different to how I have been at home. For me the environment is the same; I just have to prioritise my training and do the best that I can do.”
Meanwhile, Dewith Frazer, trainer of boxer Ricardo “Big12” Brown, is more than happy with their first few days in Japan.
“The process for us has not been a problem. The Jamaica committee [management team] is really assisting us to make sure our transition is smooth. So far the food in the venue is fine; we have no complaints from our end,” he told the Observer.
“Being in my fourth Olympic Games right now the information you are getting from outside, in the village we are so focused on ourselves that we really don't focus on that kind of thing. We sometimes have to call out to get these kinds of information.”
Super heavyweight Brown will be Jamaica's first boxer at the Olympic Games since 1996 in Atlanta, USA, when Tyson Gray (featherweight), light-middleweight Sean Black and middleweight Rowan Donaldson wore the black, green and gold colours.
“As for as how things are going with “12” (Brown), he's in good spirits, he's very focused and I expect with a good draw that we can get a medal. He's going to have an opportunity; he's a big, strong super heavyweight and over the last two years we've really worked on his cardio, and also improving his technique, so he's going to have an opportunity to do well,” said Frazer.
The veteran trainer told the Observer yesterday that the draw is set for Thursday, at which time they will know Brown's opponent and time for the first bout. He also noted that they had an opportunity to visit the training venue yesterday, but opted for today when a set time of 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm is reserved for them.
Jamaica is yet to win a medal outside of cycling and track and field at the Summer Olympic Games.
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