Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Team Ja itching to get started

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2021 | 12:11 AM

TOKYO, Japan:

Team Manager Ludlow Watts has reported that Jamaica’s athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are itching to get started at the championships, which sees track and field action getting underway on Friday starting at 9 a.m. (Thursday 7 p.m. Jamaica time).

There is, however, a delay in the arrival of two athletes — Fedrick Dacres and Carey McLeod, who are both now expected in the Athletes’ Village soon.

Watts, who also serves as treasurer of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), noted that despite the additional requirements and inconveniences related to COVID-19 safety, the athletes have adjusted well and are looking to deliver an outstanding campaign in Tokyo.

“The vibe in the camp is good,” Watts told The Gleaner. “I think despite the problems associated with COVID-19; and I said problems because it necessitates us having to go through a lot of processes, unfamiliar processes, and time-consuming activities, but we are coping and everyone has to do it, so we will ensure that whatever is required by the Jamaican athletes, it is made available so we can have an outstanding Olympics.”

The management team has been working in the background to put the necessary documents in place to ensure the smooth registration of entries for events and spent some of yesterday familiarising themselves with the location of important areas within the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, such as the Technical Information Centre, where information for potential protests is secured.

“Competition stars in two days’ time and the athletes are preparing for an outstanding Olympics,” said Watts, who also confirmed that sprinting stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Yohan Blake were named as respective female and male team captains.

Meanwhile, McLeod, who is set to represent Jamaica in the triple jump and long jump events, was not allowed to board his flight into the country a few days ago due to issues with his COVID-19 test certificate, raising fears he would miss the opportunity to compete at the championships.

The 23-year-old is set to start his competition in the men’s long jump on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. (5:10 a.m. Jamaica time) and will also line up in the triple jump on Tuesday, August 3 at 9 a.m. (August 2, 7 p.m.).

McLeod, the three-time SEC champion and six-time NCAA All-American, is the only man to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in both the long and triple jump events.

“The latest information is that he should be arriving within two days. That’s the latest information that I have,” Watts said yesterday.


Dacres, the World Championships silver medal winner in the discus event, has also had issues getting into Japan and is now expected to arrive just one day before the start of his competition, which gets going on Friday, July 30 at 9:45 a.m. (Thursday at 7:45 p.m.).

“He (Dacres) should arrive on the 29th and he goes in competition the next day,” said Watts.

“Dacres, prior to leaving on the 21st, he had gone to the Netherlands and the Netherlands is one of those countries that require 14 days quarantine if they have to pass through the USA. He had only gone 11 days, so he had to go back, stay back in Jamaica for three more days. But during that period he needed to do another PCR test, which was not done in time, and that created further delays, but he should be here on the 29th,” Watts shared.

The majority of Jamaica’s track and field athletes arrived in Japan on July 23.