André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association Mike Fennell has hailed the performances of the Jamaicans at the London Olympic Games and said there are possibilities for a sporting partnership between Jamaica and England in the future.
Fennell, who was in the stands at the Excel London Exhibition Centre as Kenneth Edwards became the first Jamaican representative in the Olympic tae kwon do competition, made particular mention of those who competed admirably in areas outside of track and field, including swimmer Alia Atkinson, equestrienne Samantha Albert, and Edwards, who all impressed during the Games.
"Things have gone extremely well," Fennell told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I know people had some wild expectations and others had more reasonable ones, but they have lived up to their expectations in every way. It's been a remarkable Olympics for Jamaica and our athletes.
"Jamaica has taken this place by storm and I hope the people back home will realise the impact that Jamaica has had on these Games because of the performances of our athletes," added Fennell.
Jamaica mined 12 medals - including four gold, four silver and four bronze - while Albert improved her performance from 2008, and Atkinson lowered national records in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, finishing fourth in the shorter distance.
Fennell was also left impressed with the bronze-medal runs by up-and-coming sprinters Hansle Parchment and Warren Weir. Parchment lowered the 110m hurdles national record to 13.12 seconds and Weir completed a Jamaican sweep in the 200m behind Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
"So many [good performances] for Jamaica, Usain Bolt repeating, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce repeating, but perhaps other performances not just the winners [should also be celebrated] - third place in the 200m, third place in the 110m hurdles. Alia Atkinson was fantastic. She didn't win a medal, but to us, her fourth place was as good as a medal," said Fennell.
"Samantha Albert also did well in a sport that is not well-known in Jamaica, but equestrian is a very big sport here as seen at the venues, fantastic crowds, and she rode well and was very competitive.
"What this says is that once we scratch the surface, there is no stopping us in any sport, but it is going to require serious investment and not just cheers when we win, but also in the development stage. We also have to remember that without the investment at the development stage, we can't reap the rewards at the Olympic Games," said Fennell.