Birmingham University to lay new track for Jamaica's athletes
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA), says facilities at the University of Birmingham are being upgraded for Jamaica's athletes ahead of the London Olympics.
The university will be hosting the Jamaicans for their pre-Olympic training camp, with the 6-foot 5-inch tall Olympic and World champion Usain Bolt among several giants expected to attend.
Blake, who toured the facilities last month, told The Gleaner that university officials will be relaying a new track for the Jamaicans to train on prior to them moving inside the Olympic Village. He also said a lot of improvement work was also carried out on the gym and swimming pool.
"The track there is in fairly good condition, but when you have more money than we have, they can afford track and a brand new running surface will be laid down for our athletes," said Blake.
"In their view and in our view, for world-class athletes, they deserved no less than a world-class track to train on and to prepare on," he said.
"They said if they are bringing the world's best athletes to their university then the world's best athletes must have the best track to train on, and the best track that they can provide is a new track," Blake said. The JAAA boss added that the new track would be relaid between the end of February and early March.
"We also have excellent facilities there with a pool and several weight rounds," said Blake. "We have the sports science lab that will be made available to our coaches and our athletes if they need to do any work there."
The JAAA president also said a special catering facility is in place to avoid repeat scenarios of what was a troublesome Beijing Olympics for the Jamaican squad.
"We will have our own dining room and we will have our Jamaican chefs, both from London and from GraceKennedy, our sponsors, who will be sending their chefs down there," Blake reassured.