Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Jamaica can top medal table in Rio - Blake

Published:Monday | January 4, 2016 | 1:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Blake

Athletics chief Warren Blake believes that Jamaica can top the track and field medal table at this summer's Olympic Games.

Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), says the 110-metre hurdles and the men's 4x400-metre relays are the events that could make the difference.

The JAAA president is quietly confident about the prospects for the nation's athletes for 2016.

Reflecting on the seven gold-medal haul achieved by Jamaica at last year's World Championships in Beijing, Blake stated: "If we had gotten another gold, and there are places where we could have gotten another gold but it just didn't work out, we would have topped the medal table."

In Beijing, Jamaica won gold medals courtesy of Usain Bolt in the men's 100 and 200 metres, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the ladies' 100m, Danielle Williams in the 100m hurdles, both 4x100 metres relays and the ladies' 4x400 metres.

However, Kenya edged Jamaica to top the table by one gold medal.

Blake is, however, foreseeing a change for the better.

"Strategically, we think that come the Olympics this year, we are really in a good position to top the athletics medal table," Blake said.

"If you look at the areas in which we did well in 2015, we are set to still do well in those areas and we have a good crop of 400m runners coming up," he added.

"Our hurdlers," Blake continued,

"both on the male and female sides, are expected to do well again this year, and, with a bit of luck, we can do better in the male hurdles."

 

Potential champs

 

He considers both Hansle Parchment and Omar McLeod, who finished second and sixth, respectively, in the World Championships, as potential Olympic champions.

"If he (McLeod) performs to his real technical excellence, I don't see why he shouldn't be up there among the medals," said Blake in reference to McLeod, who was far from his best in Beijing.

Regarding Parchment, Blake said, "He keeps getting better every time he performs in the big events."

"He should also be there," concluded the JAAA President, "as a medal contender for the gold."

He welcomed the Government-funded athlete support programme and reported that his association is currently looking for sponsors to contribute to a feeding programme.

"Right now, we're looking sponsorship to put in a feeding programme, so that the clubs can optimise the performance of their athletes," said Blake.

Jamaica's best-ever medal tally at an Olympic Games came in 2012 in London when 12 medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze) were secured, all in athletics.