Sport

Focused JA women ready to execute in field hockey

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia — Now that they have arrived in Colombia, head coach of Jamaica's senior women's field hockey team, Christine Bartley, believes the players have transitioned their thinking towards delivering results at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games that will meet their goal of advancing to the next level of competition.

“We've been preparing for the past six months. I think the girls are a bit more focused because we are here. now it's the Games, it's not about preparation any more, it's about executing. They're focused and confident and feel as if they have the tools to do well,” said Bartley, whose team arrived here in the South American city on Monday night.

“We got in quite safely, everybody is in good spirits, the facility is not what we'd have hoped for, but we are pleased with what we've seen,” she added. “It is comfortable enough to make us focused and ready to get the job done.”

Both the Jamaica men's and women's senior field hockey teams are competing for top spot at the CAC Games, which would also guarantee qualification to the Pan American Games, which serves as the ultimate qualifier for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I think the team is a mixture of persons who would've played at the CAC level before and who understand the importance of winning and they also understand the opportunities it has to offer in terms of getting to a competition which is more competitive and also getting to the Olympics,” explained Bartley.

The team is captained by Suwanna Gordon and was led in scoring at the qualifiers last November by Camille Griffiths and Demi Nicholson — the daughter of Dr Michelle Holt, who was a member of the 1990 team that won Jamaica's only CAC Games gold medal.

Jamaica's women beat Guatemala, a team they will face in Group B action here, as well as Bermuda and Puerto Rico in the November qualifiers that were held at the Mona Hockey Turf in Kingston. They also drew goalless in the preliminaries against Guyana, but went down 0-1 to the latter in the championship game.

The team has prepared non-stop since and Bartley, who took up the helm as head coach in April 2017, expressed mixed reaction to their preparation and expressed gratitude for those who contributed to the journey.

“I think we made the best of what we had to work with,” she noted. “There are a lot more resources we'd have hoped for, in terms of international practice games and a proper nutrition programme and also the help of a sports psychologist in terms of mental preparation.”

She added: “Thanks to all the persons who would've helped to facilitate the programme through the preparation stage and also now in the competition phase. Thanks to the Jamaican people and everybody back home who is cheering for us and hoping we'll do well.”

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