Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, headed a large group of persons, including officials of sporting organisations, relatives, sponsors and fans, who welcomed three of the athletes who participated in the recent World Championships in Berlin, Germany, when they arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport, on September 16.
The athletes were Olympic and World Champion female sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser; 400-metre hurdler, Kaliese Spencer; and sprinter, Michael Frater, who captured gold in the men’s 4 x 100 metres relay at the World Championships.
Also welcoming the athletes were President of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA), Howard Aris and Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), Mr. David Mais.
At a press conference, held in the VIP lounge at the airport, Miss Fraser thanked her sponsors, coach and relatives for their continued support and encouragement in her personal development.
Olympic/World Champion female sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser (right), hugs her niece, Tashian Fraser, when she arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport, on September 16. Looking on (from left) are: Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (left); Shelly-Ann’s mother, Ms.Maxine Simpson and 400-metre hurdler, Kaliese Spencer.
“The encouragement I get from them is just heart warming. I also think that the support from the nation is just priceless,” she added.
Despite having a challenging year, Miss Fraser said she demonstrated that it was possible to achieve anything in life.
“I have shown people that through hard work and determination and the right people around you, who continue to support and uplift your morals and values, you can definitely achieve success,” she said.
In his comments, Mr. Frater said he was happy and humbled by the welcome. “I didn’t expect any of this, because no one knew that I was coming,” he said.
Olympic/World Champion female sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser, relaxes in the arms of her grandmother, Ms. Phedalia Simpson (right), in the VIP lounge at the Norman Manley International Airport, shortly after her arrival on September 16.
Miss Spencer also expressed gratitude for the encouraging words and appreciation shown by Jamaicans during the Championships in Berlin.
“We felt the Jamaican spirit and we are happy that we can serve our country in that way,” she said. She also thanked her coach, sponsors and family for their support throughout the event.
“Continue to support and lift us up when we are down. May God give us the strength and health as we continue to serve Jamaica,” she added.
To honour the nation’s athletes who participated in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, the Government is to host a series of events dubbed, ‘The Berlin Salute, – a Tribute to our Athletes’ from October 2 to 4 this year.
On October 2, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture will host a ‘Golden Reception’ at Jamaica House, under the patronage of Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding and Mrs. Golding.
On Saturday, October 3, a Thanksgiving Service for the athletes will be held at the Portmore Seventh Day Adventist Church, in St. Catherine. Then, on Sunday, October 4, there will be a western celebration fun day and party at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium.
The Jamaican athletes were very successful at the World Games, winning a total of 13 medals, including seven gold, four silver and 2 bronze, and placing second behind the United States in the medal haul.
Usain Bolt was the highlight of the meet, breaking his own world records in the 100 metres, by clocking 9.58 seconds, and in the 200 metres, in a time of 19.19 seconds. He also won a third gold medal in the Men’s 4 x 100 metres relay.