Sat | Sep 23, 2017

High security around Ja's stars

Published:Sunday | July 31, 2016 | 7:00 AM
There is a strong security presence at Jamaica's training camp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

There were nearly 350 homicides in Rio de Janeiro in May alone - a worrying situation for officials less than one week away from the 'Greatest Show on Earth'.

Despite the security threat around the 2016 Olympic Games, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake is expressing confidence in the security arrangements around Jamaica's stars who are currently in the Brazilian city on a training camp ahead of the August 5-21 Olympic Games.

South America's first Olympic Games has been plagued by problems and doubts - few greater than Rio's infamous urban crime problem - one that has not improved in the build-up to the Games.

 

Navy personnel

 

Despite admitting to not making any special security request themselves, Blake is satisfied that those put in place by the Brazilian authorities for a team that is considered one of the most high-profile here is more than adequate.

Private security guards man the entrances to the Jamaicans' temporary home at the Linx Hotel, some 32 kilometres to the north of the Olympic Village, where the team will move to on August 3 ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

Hotel guests are, for the most part, kept away from the athletes and officials, who are transported along with navy personnel in military vehicles to their training track at the Centro de Educacao Fisica Almirante Adalberto Nunes (CEFAN) -a naval academy some 15 minutes away. Here, the team is under the constant protection of armed military personnel.

"We do certainly feel secure," Blake told The Sunday Gleaner.

"We had not really requested any special security arrangements, but Jamaica is a high-profile team and the authorities have put in place some of the highest levels of security arrangements for us," added Blake. 'The fact that we are also training on a military base helps with the security."

Meanwhile, Blake, who expressed satisfaction at the facilities made available to the team so far, said despite the negative reports surrounding the event, the athletes were in good spirits and looking forward to another positive showing.

"The facilities have been great. I think we got an excellent location, both in terms of the hotel where the athletes are staying and also the track where we train. It's private and all the facilities are there that you would want for a training ground," said Blake.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com