Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Grange has plans for Bolt

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Olivia Grange

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

Sports minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange is imploring sprint icon Usain Bolt to remain in the sport after his retirement and pointed out that the Government will be engaging the superstar and his team with the intention of making certain unnamed offers to the athlete.

Grange, who underlined Bolt's value to Jamaica and the sport in general, believes the sprinter has a significant role to play in sports development and the pushing of the country's brand as a sporting nation after he hangs up his spikes. She added that the Government has certain ideas about how it wants to pay homage to the athlete for his accomplishments. She did, however, point out that a lot will depend on Bolt himself.

Bolt last night secured a second gold medal at the Games and will be gunning for a third with the members of Jamaica's 4x100m relay team, a result which would bring him level with Carl Lewis and Ray Ewry on nine Olympic gold medals in athletics.

"I don't think we will see anyone else like Usain Bolt and I am very happy that I was given the honour to be minister at this time. I was there in the beginning, and I am here now that Usain is close to retiring. The world will not let him go, because even when he stops running, he is going to have to play a very critical role in track and field," Grange said.

"There will always be room for him. We will always embrace him, and we will certainly want to have conversations with him as to the way going forward," Grange added.

"Many sportsmen and women shy away from politicians, but I think that we have reached a point in Jamaica, where it should always be about Jamaica and everyone should play their part. I think Usain is willing to play his part, and we embrace him and [we will] accommodate whatever his wishes will be," she added.

"Whatever we may want to do, he has to agree to. We wanted to name the highway in his honour, but he didn't want that, but he accepted the Order of Jamaica and accepted being an ambassador, and we hope that he will accept the other considerations that we will put to him," Grange said.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com