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Unsatisfactory organisation,injuries test Jamaicans

Published:Monday | July 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

In addition to occasional unfavourable weather conditions and embarrassingly poor organisation, Jamaica's management team at the 2011 Junior Pan American Championships, which ended yesterday, was also put to the test by a spate of injuries to key athletes over the three days of competition.

Kellion Knibb, who aggravated an elbow strain, hurdler Javarn Gallimore (torn hamstring), jumper Rochelle Farquharson (left ankle sprain), Janieve Russell (lower back strain), Ashawni Mitchell (quad) and high jumper Petergay Reid were just some of the athletes affected by injuries particularly in the latter part of the championships.

Farquharson, one of the medal favourites heading into the event, could only manage a best of 5.80m - way off her personal best 6.48m, which she posted two months ago, and had to settle for fifth place in the long jump, after suffering a sprain to her left ankle. She was later also pulled from the triple jump.

Knibb was pulled from the women's shot put while Gallimore pulled his hamstring after leading comfortably at the 300m mark in the 400m hurdles final and had to be scratched from the 4x400m relay.


Team manager Dwight Cunningham gave an idea of some of the challenges faced by the management team in Florida, ahead of yesterday's final day.

"Firstly, the meet was poorly organised in terms of the housing, transportation and the food. Our greatest challenge outside of that was that some persons came into the championship with injuries that we weren't aware of, so that gave us some challenge with a skeletal team where no replacements could be made. This affected somewhat the synergy and performance of the team. The doctors, physiotherapist, coaches and a couple of Jamaican supporters living in the area rallied around the team to try and get the athletes to perform as best as possible," said Cunningham.

"We've had team meetings where we try to encourage the athletes, we exposed them to the medical staff to ensure that all needs are reported and dealt with ... . We decided not to take any chances with some of the athletes as we believe that their future is better than risking them in this meet," Cunningham added.

Carlene Edwards, the team's media manager, was also critical of the provisions made for the Jamaicans.

"Particularly on the first day, the transportation system was very disorganised," Edwards stated. "Overall, two shuttle buses were provided to transport athletes and officials from 43 countries and that caused the teams to wait on a shuttle for close to two hours while the distance from the venue to where the team is accommodated is some 40 minutes away. The situation got worse as teams had to wait close to three hours for a shuttle after the second shuttle," she added.

"The management team complained bitterly to the organisers and an additional shuttle was provided and the teams were able to leave the venue in good time," Edwards added.