Cool temperature, wind fail to dampen Jamaica's performance
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Michael Vassell, Jamaica's head coach to the 2012 Carifta Games, which today enters its final day at the National Sports Centre in Bermuda, has expressed satisfaction with the team's showing so far at the championships, despite the difficulties being experienced with the weather there.
With temperatures dropping as low as 16 degrees Celsius on Saturday's opening day and wind speeds exceeding 20km per hour, Vassell and the entire management team have been stretched, as they work to keep the athletes properly warmed up before competition and in the best of health with breathing issues surfacing since the team's arrival on the tiny North Atlantic archipelago.
"I must commend the team for the performances because the conditions are extremely difficult," said Vassell. "The weather is so cold that kids are out there freezing but giving nonetheless their all for their country."
Jamaica ended the first day with 27 medals and are on course for another big medal haul as they set themselves up for yet another successful title defence. Jamaica has topped the Carifta Games medal table since 1985 and despite the challenges, Vassell is expecting the team to better their 66-medal count from last year's championships, which were held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
"We have had cases where people are unable to breathe properly and warm up properly and so we have to be working overtime to ensure that nobody gets hurt as we try to keep them as comfortable as possible and adapt to the conditions," Vassell said.
"Twenty seven medals after day one signals that we are in for a good medal haul, what we need to do is remain focused and especially in the relays, ensure that we get the baton around," added the St Hugh's High School head coach.
In spite of the cold weather, Vassell thankfully reported that the medical staff has done well to manage the injury niggles and keep the athletes in good shape.
"I must commend our medical team because they have been doing well to monitor those who came with niggling injuries and apart from our javelin thrower (Kellion Knibb), who aggravated an old injury, I think the team is in good shape," Vassell said.
Saturday ended in controversy as Jazeel Murphy's Under-20 Boys 100m final victory was cast in doubt after Bahamian officials lodged a protest citing that fellow Jamaican, Jevaughn Minzie, who crossed the line in second place, had false started.
Jamaican officials proposed a re-run of the race but that was countered and Minzie was officially disqualified yesterday.