Happy return! - JAAA, JOA pleased with Rio medal haul
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Dr Warren Blake, while admitting local "medal hopefuls might have wanted more Olympic medals" from the 73-member team, feels Jamaica "did fairly well" in placing 16th overall on the Olympic medal table.
Blake, along with Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Michael Fennell and other administrators, team personnel and athletes, arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Jamaica racked up 11 medals, equalling their highest haul - inclusive of six gold, three silver and two bronze in athletics competition.
"It's quite good; the hopefuls among us were hoping for a few more medals, but there are many nations who went away empt-handed," said Blake yesterday.
MUCH TO BE PROUD OF
"I think Jamaica has everything to be proud of. We did fairly well. We came 16th overall on the Olympic medal table, which is taking all sports into account, and that all the medals came from a single sport. This is really a tremendous achievement," Blake continued, in an interview with The Gleaner.
With regard to track and field (athletics), Jamaica placed third overall, a feat which the JAAA boss calls "a remarkable achievement for a country so small".
Prior to the Olympics, the JAAA came in for some criticism regarding medical exemptions to athletes like triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt in the 100 and 200m at the national trials, double sprint Olympic champion Elaine Thompson in the 200m, and Janieve Russell in the 400m hurdles, but Blake says his organisation feels vindicated.
"Jamaica is a small country and we cannot behave like the United States of America, where it's first three past the post on the day," he stressed.
"We saw the need to put in place a situation that would allow for such a medical exemption, and the results have vindicated us," he outlined, while crediting the coaching staff, technical team, medical teams, masseurs, who "all pulled together to make this one of our most successful Olympics ever".
In the meantime, Fennell says Jamaica had their disappointments like any other country, but noted that the overall medal haul was "excellent".
"Very satisfactory. We had our disappointments like every team. We are not the only one with disappointments. The US probably had more disappointments than anybody else, but we had our own disappointments. But overall, it was excellent," the veteran administrator noted.
He believes Jamaica gave the Rio Games a big boost.
"Yes, it did, as did other teams too, because remember, we were big in one sport, but there were 27 other sports. Swimming was pretty big and many of the other sports, but of course, athletics is our flagship," Fennell added.