Wed | Nov 13, 2019

To Doha in Grace - GraceKennedy treats athletes ahead of World Championships departure

Published:Tuesday | September 17, 2019 | 12:16 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Members of the World Championships team and representatives from GraceKennedy strike a pose outside of the Club Kingston departure lounge at the Norman Manley International Airport before the team departs for Doha, Qatar, yesterday.

GraceKennedy, in the best possible way, tried to make amends for not being able to provide meals for Jamaica’s team to the 2019 World Championships by treating several athletes to a ‘good old Grace Jamaican brunch’ before they departed from the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) for Doha, Qatar, yesterday.

Since the conglomerate became the official sponsor for Jamaica’s training camp at major championships, it has been providing the team with a chef to prepare Jamaican food for the athletes.

But a food restriction in Qatar, a Gulf-Arab country, renders them incapable of providing that service for this installation of the World Championships, which gets under way on September 27.

With the help of Club Kingston, a departure lounge at NMIA, a number of local athletes were properly fed before they flew across the Atlantic to begin their training camp for the September 27 to October 6 Worlds.

“We figured that what better way to do it than to send them off with Grace food. We are the official sponsor of the training camp, and $8 million is being invested in the training to ensure that the athletes are comfortable ... before they leave and ensure that they have a safe flight and do themselves proud, Jamaica proud, and represent Grace,” said Richard Smith, programme and channel manager of GraceKennedy.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s mandatory training camp commences today and goes until September 23, the athletes will move into the athletes’ village.

David Riley, one of the coaches with the team, not only expects this team to do better than they did two years ago in London but believes that the championship will provide a platform for the young athletes among them to make a smooth transition to the senior stage.

GOOD MIX OF ATHLETES

“We have a good mixture of experienced and young athletes, and that is good. Jamaica has a very good youth programme. A couple years ago, we topped the youth tables, and so we do have a wide base of athletes who we are developing, and it is just for us to continue to help them make the transition,” Riley said. “We have a very good chance of doing better than we did the last time. Jamaica is still a superpower in track and field, and we aren’t going to fall off that for a very long time.”

He continued: “We do have a lot of experience with the athletes, as well as the coaches, and we will go out there and do very well. We are developing to be a track and field nation, as oppose to a sprint nation. There are opportunities outside of the traditional sprint events that we will do very well in, and, as a people, we have to mature and see those as notable performances.”

akino.ming@gleanerjm.com