Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Wilson: Rio team as good as 2012 or better

Published:Friday | July 22, 2016 | 7:00 AMHubert Lawrence
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Maurice Wilson, Jamaica's technical leader for athletics at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, says that this year's squad could be as good as the group that won four gold, four silver, and four bronze medals in London four years ago.

Coach Wilson said the quality of the team is similar and might even be at a higher standard. He believes that the aggregation headed for Rio could be one of the best ever from Jamaica.

Responding to a similar sentiment expressed on local television by sprinter Yohan Blake, Wilson analysed: "When you look at the breakdown, in terms of the quality of the athletes we have this year, it is, in my opinion, similar or even at a higher standard."

Wary of the competitive challenges that lay ahead, he added: "Irrespective of who we have, we have to perform during the course of the championships."

In reference to athletes who applied for a medical exemption from the recent National Senior Championships, he said, "... if we're able to recover adequately, this could be one of the best performances."

The athletics team has 41 Olympic newcomers, but Wilson believes the group has a good blend of youth and experience.

"Once the athletes are in camp, they become one big family, and most of the senior athletes set examples and try to encourage the younger ones," he said.

GREAT TRANSITION

The squad also includes the likes of Veronica Campbell-Brown, who is heading to her fifth Olympics, and Asafa Powell and Novlene Williams-Mills, who will both journey to the Games for the fourth time.

"So I think it's a great transition in the process," he noted at his last training session before heading to Rio de Janeiro, "and I'm happy for what I'm seeing."

Wilson and the local-based members of the team leave for Rio today.