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Absentees affecting Olympic camp - Watts

Published:Monday | July 23, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Ludlow Watts, team manager for the Jamaican Olympic team in Birmingham, England. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

BIRMINGHAM, England:

Manager Ludlow Watts has expressed concern over the team's level of preparation, with some of Jamaica's biggest track and field stars absent from the pre-Olympic training camp at the University of Birmingham up to yesterday evening - less than a week before the start of the Olympic Games in London.

Asafa Powell, who is expected to feature in the 100m and 4x100m, defending 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who will also double for the first time at this level - with a 200m assignment - plus her expected 4x100m leg, Olympic 400m hurdles champion Melaine Walker and training partner Kaliese Spencer, along with former 100m hurdles World Champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton, are all now expected to join up with the rest of the team today.

The group has been training out of the MVP Track Club's training base in Italy. It should be noted, however, that other MVP athletes Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Shericka Williams are already in camp.

Kerron Stewart (100m, 4x100m), Christine Day (400m, 4x400m), Latoya Greaves (100m hurdles) and Rusheen McDonald (400m, 4x400m) only recently joined the camp, which started on July 15, after training and competing in pre-Olympic meets all across the Europe.

Regarding the absences, Watts, who did not name the athletes who were in fact not in camp, admitted that the matter was a concern for the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), but believes that the inordinately busy pre-Olympic meet schedule has played a major part in the late arrivals.

"The camp is mandatory, but because of the unusual situation this year where a number of people have had to be in and out for various meets, some people came back on Saturday from Poland for instance. But this is the first time we have had a situation like this where there are meets all around us," Watts explained.

"When we were in Daegu, China and Japan, it would not have been easy for people to commute back and forth," he added, during a recent meeting with Jamaican journalists at Lucas House, which is located adjacent the University of Birmingham campus.

"This has been an unusual camp because we have had a number of people in and out and a number of people who have had to do a few things differently, so I would like to say then that it's not as ideal as we would like, because people would not have done everything together everyday as a lot of people are in and out and there are a few dislocations in terms of the ideal preparation," Watts noted.

The JAAA treasurer is, however, expecting everyone to be in camp tonight, but was not prepared to say what actions, if any, would be taken if this is not the case.

"I do not want to call individual names, but I expect everyone to be in camp by tomorrow (today)," said Watts. "Tomorrow (today) is the day. We would be rather surprised if people are still out on Monday, but we will cross that bridge if we get there. Let us just say for now that we expect everyone to be fully in camp tomorrow."