Following Jamaica’s phenomenal exploits at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in China, His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales (always known as Prince Harry), says expectations are high of this year’s XXX Games in London, England.
“I think, for all the Commonwealth countries, the fact that the Olympics are in London, it should be a fantastic thing. I know that everybody back home is really very excited,” he said on Tuesday March 6, during a brief interaction with athletes at the Mona Bowl of Sporting Excellence, University of West Indies (UWI), St. Andrew.
Prince Harry also mentioned Jamaica’s outstanding achievements in athletics. “It’s fantastic…for the country to have someone (like Usain Bolt who) they (fledgling athletes) can aspire to be,” he said.
He told the athletes that they should be very proud “to give the opportunity to the next generation (of athletes) to try and better (the exploits) of this generation, which I think might be quite hard. This is a very small country; (but) it doesn’t matter how big you are, it shows that if you have got talent, (you can) use it (to great effect).”
Prince Harry also gave an undertaking to attend as many of the events at the games, particularly those involving Jamaican athletes, “if work permits me,” and promised that once his schedule allows, he will visit the Jamaican village at the London Olympics.
Principal of the UWI's Mona campus, Professor Gordon Shirley, in welcoming Prince Harry to the Mona Bowl, noted that it was home to some of the biggest names in track and field globally.
These, he said, include: Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Jermaine Gonzales, Rosemarie Whyte, Sherifa Lloyd, Schillone Calvert, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Daniel Bailey, all of whom are members of the Racers Track Club, which is based at the Bowl.
“Many of these athletes will be on show at this year’s London Olympic Games, which makes your visit today, even more timely. Of course, we are looking forward to excellent things in London, this summer. We are (also) delighted to join with you in celebrating this very special occasion of your visit, which marks Her Majesty’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee”, Professor Shirley said.
In her remarks, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, lobbied the Prince’s support in ensuring that “every single (Jamaican) athlete and our sports programme grow from strength to strength”.
The visit by Prince Harry, younger grandson of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, forms part of a series of tours to several countries, in commemorative tribute to the 60th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of her accession to the throne as Queen of England.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter