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Fennell: Respect athletes' privacy

Published:Saturday | July 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Mike Fennell, has called on journalists to be understanding, as it relates to them not being allowed access to the Jamaican athletes who are currently going through their final paces at their training camp based at the University of Birmingham.

Journalists have reportedly been greeted with closed gates that are constantly manned on their visits to the venue, and have been informed that they will not be able to interact with the athletes until July 24, when a media day will be staged.

"We must respect the fact that when they (the athletes) are in these last few days of preparation they need to be protected from other involvement and, therefore, the journalists should deal with the team management; the athletes should be left alone," Fennell said yesterday following the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Area Squash Association's 2012 Junior Championships, held at the Liguanea Club.

"We must allow them their privacy to train and to focus on what they have to do. Private camps are private camps and we must respect that privacy. There are times when things have to be public, but we must also respect that there are times when things have to be private," he added.

Assurances were, however, given by Donald Quarrie, who is technical head of the Jamaican track and field team, and chef de mission, Donald Anderson, prior to leaving the island that Jamaican journalists would be given special consideration.

respect judgement

"The JOA is responsible for the training camp, but we have delegated that responsibility to the JAAA's team, not the JAAA, but the management team that was selected for the Olympics track and field squad," Fennell highlighted. "I must respect the judgement of the team management there. We have discussed it with them and asked them to discuss it with the media who are over there, so they should have some dialogue on the matter," he added.

Fennell acknowledges that journalists should be granted some access to the athletes, but urge them to be patient until the scheduled media day.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com