Bobsleigh team has top level support
The excellent start to their Winter Olympics qualification by Jamaica's women's bobsleigh team may have stunned the outside world, but not Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation (JBF) President Chris Stokes.
Stokes said last Saturday's performance, where the team finished seventh overall out of 23 of the best sleds in the world, was expected because of the immense investment that has gone into the programme and the team's expert supporting cast.
"It was a big shock to the bobsleigh community ... but we have been working on this for many years and we have been putting the team together," he added.
After moving up from the North American circuit to the World Cup qualifiers, the team of Carrie Russell and Jazmin Fenlator-Victorian was provided with a new BTC sled, the top-performing sled for the leading international teams. Stokes said they also brought in a high-performance director, Jo Manning, who has worked with the British as executive director, with the Dutch as coach and with the Brazilian team.
The team also has a new driving coach in five-time world champion, 2002 Olympic silver medallist and 2006 gold medallist, Sandra Kiriasis of Germany, while Dudley Stokes, one of the founding members of the team, rejoined as coach of performance, mental preparation and general logistics.
"We sent the best possible support team we could put together with the women on the World Cup circuit," Stokes said.
The JBF president said they had spent a lot of time getting the organisation and the structure right ahead of qualification.
"We were at UWI all summer doing background training. We didn't do as well as we would have liked in the international training period on the Olympic track. But since restarting the North American circuit, the team has moved from strength to strength, and we expect to peak at the games.
"Our mental energy will be high and our physical capacity will be at its peak. We will be patient and manage the process, and understand that what they have done so far is not the end of the journey, because we want to be on the podium, we want to be the best in the world," he said.