Juniors positive ahead of World Champs
THE country's top young athletes will be seeking glory at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Jamaica's athletes are scheduled to depart on Thursday for the championships, which gets under way next week Tuesday.
It will be the third time that a junior team from Jamaica will compete in that country - in 1999 at the first staging of the World Youth Championships (where the country garnered nine medals) and in 2008, when Jamaica won eight medals at the World Junior Championships.
The country will be hoping to surpass the medal haul of two years ago in Eugene, Oregon, where the athletes picked up six medals, with Jaheel Hyde leading the way with a gold medal in the men's 400 metres hurdles.
Hyde will start as a big favourite to defend his title as with a season and personal best of 48.81 seconds, he is the only junior to be under the 49-second barrier this year.
On Saturday, The Gleaner visited the training camp at G.C. Foster College of Sports and Physical Education, where the team underwent time trials it they stepped up preparation before their departure.
Most of the athletes spoke about their expectations going into the championships.
CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR (400M): "My expectation going to Poland is very high and I am very confident of doing well. Despite a long season, this has not affected me, and as long as I go out there mentally and physically prepared, I expect to do something special," he said.
RAHEEM CHAMBERS (100M): "Preparation for me has been going wonderful and I am feeling great as the coaches have been working hard with us in the camp. Although I am listed at number nine on the IAAF top list, I am not worried about this, and I will use this to motivate me, and I am someone who always performs on the big day and I am looking forward to doing so once again."
DEJOUR RUSSELL (110MH): "Being the youngest member on the team, I feel really elated, and being the youngest and the 'baddest', I am happy to know that I will be representing Jamaica at the highest level. Going into the trials, I was nervous and I must say thanks to God that I have made it, and I am going to make my fans proud. I have improved on my starts, and I hope that will help me to get into the race early and see where that takes me."
SHANNON KALLAWAN (400MH): "I am fully prepared, and I am ready for the championships. I just want to go out there and make the finals then take it from there. I just want my fans to cheer me on and pray for me."
KIMONE SHAW (4x100M): "Training has been good so far as everyone has been cooperating. Not running the 100 metres ... I am not disappointed as I am still young. God knows best and I'm ready to help my team to medal in the relay."
SHANICE LOVE (DISCUS): "I am ready to go out there and do my best, and I am hoping to exceed my personal best of 54.72 metres and, hopefully, that can take me to the finals and even among the medallists."