Scores of Jamaicans turned up at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on September 10, to welcome home another batch of the nation's athletes.
The six sportsmen and women returned to the island after successfully competing in the recently concluded London Olympic Games. They were treated to a welcome reception in the airport’s VIP room, accentuated by rousing fanfare, courtesy of the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force.
The group comprised: Yohan Blake, member of Jamaica's gold medal-winning men's 4×100-metre relay team, silver medallist in the men's 100 metres and silver medallist in the men's 200 metres; Kemar Bailey-Cole, member of the men's 4×100- metre relay team; Hansle Parchment, men’s 110-metre bronze medal hurdler; Warren Weir, men’s 200-metre bronze medallist; Rosemarie Whyte, women’s 400-metre bronze medallist; and Kimberly Williams, women's triple jump finalist.
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Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, said she was extremely proud of the performance of the athletes, noting that "what you have done for us in London can never be quantified."
She said that although the life of an athlete may seem glamorous, many persons would not be aware of the hard work and sacrifices that go into ensuring a good performance.
"We are very aware of the tremendous sacrifice and hard work that you put in to get up at 4 o'clock and 5 o’clock every morning to train and even on those days when you are not feeling so well…you get up and you do it anyway, and so we are very grateful," she said.
Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President, Michael Fennell, reminded that the nation’s success in London, with a 12-medal haul of four gold, four silver and four bronze, “was the best ever Olympic delegation."
He said while the country should be proud of the medals attained, "let us remember that we must also celebrate the finalists, and every single member of the delegation who did their best to represent the country."
Responding on behalf of all the athletes, Mr. Blake thanked all who came out to receive the athletes, for the warm reception.
He said it is this interest and the continued support of the nation that athletes need, noting that the journey to success for them "hasn’t been easy."
The sprinter praised his coach, Glen Mills, for his encouragement as well as his friends, family, management team and sponsors for all their support.