WHILE the qualification of three bobsleigh teams, so far, for next month's Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, has been a pleasant surprise, Mark Silva, technical director of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF), says they are keeping their expectations at a reasonable level.
On Monday, Jamaica was offered a record three spots, in the first monobob which is contested only by women as well as the two-man and four-man sections, and the athletes and coaches were presented to members of the media at a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Additionally there is hope that a fourth team, the two-woman bobsleigh, could be added as the Jamaicans finished just one spot out of qualifying which ended on Sunday, and if any of the other teams withdraw they would be the first to be asked to fill the void.
On Tuesday Silva told the Jamaica Observer they had to keep their expectations realistic given the level of the competition they would be up against on what will be a new and fast track in Beijing.
“The standard is so high! Had you asked me 12 months ago I would have been happy with one out of four teams making it,” he said, but added he would not “sit on the fence” with his expectations.
Silva said that a top 15 finish for three-time Olympian Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian in the monobob is well within her reach.
Finishing in the top 25 out of 30 sleighs for the two-man bobsleigh team, he said, “would be as huge as qualifying”, while the four-man bobsleigh, he said, would be trying to stay alive in each of the four runs, and if the two-woman team got in “they can get a spot in the top 15”.
Silva added, “These games are about setting foundations. I believe Jamaica has athletes to achieve top 10 – this has to and can lead to this.”
Shanwayne Stephens will pilot both the two - and four-man bob teams, Silva told the press conference, with Nimroy Turgott, Rolando Reid, Ashley Watson and Matthew Wekpe as the brakemen. Fenlator-Victorian, in addition to taking part in the monobob, would pilot the two-woman bobsleigh, with Audra Segree as the brakewoman and Shadae Green as the reserve brakewoman. Carrie Russell would do duties as the non-travelling standby for the monobob and two-woman bobsleigh.