Returning athletes a good sign for Team Jamaica, says

Monday, July 09, 2018

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TAMPERE, Finland — Six members of the Jamaican team that will be competing in the IAAF World Under-20 Championships that gets under way tomorrow at Tampere Stadium in the southern Finnish city will be making their second trip to this event, and h ead c oach Michael Dyke thinks that is a big plus for the Jamaican team.

Four male athletes — Christopher Taylor, Anthony Carpenter, Jhevaughn Matherson, and Damion Thomas — and two females — Stacey Ann Williams and Kimone Shaw — were part of the Jamaican team that participated two years ago when the event was held in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

“This is good for us,” Dyke told the Jamaica Observer yesterday at the team hotel. “Those who are returning for a second time would have a lot of experience that would be a plus to help guide the newcomers and, also they know what to expect at an event of this magnitude.”

Taylor, Carpenter, Matherson and Williams all won relay medals in Bydgoszcz where the Jamaican team won eight medals — two gold, three silver and three bronze.

Carpenter, who will again be part of the male 4x400m relay team, said since the team arrived in Tampere, he has been talking to a few of the younger athletes, helping them to settle in.

“I help to motivate the other athletes as I have been to a World Under-20 before, but I am also hoping to help get the team to the final and to medal.”

Meanwhile, Kai Chang will be the only discus thrower as issues with travel documents forced the withdrawal of Philipe Barnett, who was second at the JAAA National Junior Championships three weeks ago, the Observer was also told by team manager Ewan Scott.

An effort was made to replace him with Roje Stona, the top Jamaican junior male discus thrower this year, who was third at the Championships, but the entries had by then closed.

Barnett's withdrawal makes it three athletes who failed to make the trip along with Dejour Russell and Tyreke Wilson.

Meanwhile, Dyke told the Observer that a few of the athletes have been having issues with the food. “We have been trying to make sure they find food they can eat and keep nourished enough to compete at the best when the competition starts.”

The full team has still not been assembled with another four athletes expected to arrive between today and Wednesday, but Dyke said those present had been taken through two training sessions — one at the stadium Saturday, a day after they arrived, and yesterday at an indoor facility just on the outside of Tampere.

“We had two training sessions and they are getting the jet lag out of their systems and all are ready to go,” Dyke said.

The expectations are for the team to do well. “We are hoping that everyone should perform to the best of their abilities, and once that happens medals will come,” he said, while not going into any number predictions.

— Paul Reid

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