Decision soon on Olympic camp
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Mike Fennell is not ruling out a local-based training camp ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as the organisation considers an offer from another Brazilian city.
Fennell, who is hoping to tie down plans for the camp before the end of November, told The Gleaner that the JOA is currently mulling over an offer to set up their training base in Sao Paulo - located just over 400km away from the site of the August 5-21 multi-sport event.
"Right now, we are trying to come to grips with our pre-Olympics camp. The availability of suitable places is limited, and we are now looking to an offer in Sao Paulo," said Fennell. "If we can't get a suitable place, it would be better to have the pre-Olympic camp right here in Jamaica and then we go straight into the Olympic Village earlier than normal, and we would then have all the facilities there. That's also an option.
"We have ruled out going to another South American country and then going on to Brazil because you run into a lot of problems; not just travel problems, but other things such as visas and so on, which makes it very difficult," Fennell added. "We cannot have athletes up and down."
Including local coaches
Fennell was quick to underline the importance of engaging the local coaches and ensuring that they are a part of the decision-making process.
"Regarding the offer from Sao Paulo, we have to inspect it physically and then consult with the coaches to ensure that what is there satisfies their requirements.
It's not my requirements or someone else's that is really important, the coaches have to say whether or not their requirements are being satisfied as we look to prepare the teams in the best-possible manner ahead of the Olympic Games," said Fennell.
"I would love us to be in a position to make this decision by the end of November," Fennell added.
Jamaica's pre-Olympic training camp ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games was staged in Birmingham on the campus of the University of Birmingham.
Meanwhile, several sportsmen and women are currently seeking qualification to the Olympics.
"We have been paying close attention since London; we had plans and developed objectives for a number of associations. The qualification process is difficult, and we have been through the Pan American Games, and some of these sports did not do as well as we would hope," said Fennell in an update.
"Take boxing for instance, we did not qualify any boxers, but they will be going to do another qualification attempt, and we will not know until March of next year whether they qualify or not," added Fennell. "We have cycling, and the federation has identified a couple of cyclists who are in the qualifying process; badminton, table tennis and beach volleyball as well. The women's football team is also still in a qualifying round, and we try to assist as best as we can."
Jamaica ended the 2012 Olympic Games with 12 medals - all from athletics (four gold, four silver, four bronze) - for its biggest medal haul at an Olympic Games.