André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Olympic team captains hail British reception
Jamaicans and Jamaican flags at every turn, island music and familiar food have ensured that Jamaica's pre-Olympic training camp in Birmingham is feeling a little bit like home.
In fact, during a press conference at the University of Birmingham yesterday afternoon, Jamaica's male team captain Michael Frater described the West Midlands city as 'Little Jamaica' and thanked the locals for their reception.
However, the 2005 IAAF World Championships 100m silver medallist believes the Jamaicans are in line for even greater advantages when they move south to London tomorrow to compete in the Olympic Games, which start a day later, given the even larger Jamaican influence in the England capital.
"London 2012, this Olympic Games is special because of the support that we will be getting there," said Frater, who was speaking during a press conference staged at the team's training base at the university's Munrow Sports Centre.
"We have a large number of fans and supporters in London and a lot of Jamaicans live there. In fact, it's the closest the Olympics have come to Jamaica itself," Frater added. "It's almost like we will be on home turf, the support has been awesome here in Birmingham and we expect nothing less when we get to London."
He said: "A few of us have been out on the road, most of us have been out in Birmingham city, we have enjoyed the sites, we have been to the mall, the Bullring, and some of us have been to the movies, enjoying the sites."
The Jamaicans are certainly the most popular team at the Olympics as is evident in the massive media and public interest around the team and its stars.
Hundreds of fans from all over the country and media representatives from all corners of the globe descended on the university's campus for the team's 'Open Day' yesterday and female captain Novlene Williams-Mills was extremely pleased with the reception that the team has received in the city.
"It's been a great experience for all of us. I just arrived the other day but I can say that the facilities are excellent. For me, this is excellent," said Williams-Mills.
"We are hoping just to come out and put on a good show for everyone that when this Olympics is finished we want everyone to talk about what Team Jamaica did at these games," Williams-Mills added.
The Jamaicans will head into the Athletes' Village in London tomorrow.