Team will make Jamaica proud - Technical leader Wilson expects solid performances
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
"We have a team that will make Jamaica and the entire Caribbean proud."
That is the assurance from Maurice Wilson, technical leader of Jamaica's track and field team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Wilson, who spoke to the maturity of the unit, which is the island's youngest track and field team in Olympic history - with 41 first-time Olympians on the list to compete - believes that the group will also benefit from the experience of seasoned stars Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Asafa Powell.
"I think we have about 30-odd new Olympians. They have displayed a great level of maturity and focus that I have not seen in any team for a while. However, they have been blessed to have the guidance of a (Usain) Bolt, VCB (Campbell-Brown), Asafa (Powell), and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and others to assist them in settling in," Wilson said.
He noted that the make-up of the team suggests that the programme is heading in the right direction but was quick to warn that the necessary investments must be made to ensure that the systems and personnel are properly developed.
"The youngest team would suggest on paper that the future is bright. We should, however, not take this for granted but continue to invest in their human development and athletic careers," said Wilson.
"The youngsters that are around will eventually develop and mature as their present counterparts. We must, however, continue to invest in the supporting resources that form the foundation for their success, namely G.C. Foster College, which trains a lot of the coaches; our medical rehabilitation facilities; athletic equipment and supplies; the athletic clubs that have now become the biggest producers of our talent output.
"We must also never forget the athletes that train abroad," added Wilson, who is also a lecturer at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, as well as head coach of the Sprintec Track Club, which is also based at the institution.
SATISFIED SO FAR
The coach expressed satisfaction with the way things have been going thus far.
"I am extremely pleased with and surprised by the amount of work that our Brazilian friends have put into the Games. They have now become the benchmark for what other developing countries can do," Wilson said, adding that expectations in the camp are running high at this point.
"Expectations are always high when it comes to our athletes, but we should put all this in perspective and understand that once they perform to the best of their abilities that is victory of itself," said Wilson.
Jamaica ended the London 2012 Games with 12 medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze), with many experts projecting a similar output this time around.