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President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Mike Fennell, says Jamaica’s preparations for the 29th Olympiad are going well and hopes remain high for the country’s best Olympic outing yet.
Mr Fennell visited the athletics training camp in Tianjin, two hours south east of Beijing, on Thursday and held a meeting with athletes and officials.
He said Jamaica’s programme was on target and the athletes and officials were looking forward to Friday’s opening ceremony.
“This is what they have worked for and they are quite keen to go out there and deliver. I have found the mood in the camp quite good and everybody seems ready to go. I am here to encourage them and to spend a bit of time with them.” Mr Fennell said the other members of Jamaica’s Olympics contingent had arrived in China and were settling in well.
“Our cyclists arrived today and the equestrian rider is doing well in Hong Kong. Our swimmers have also been training, so things are going well but we still have a multitude of little details to cover. You find that organisation in China requires approvals at every level and this can be really time consuming. But we are doing all that is required of us.” On the question of the air quality and the potential impact it may have on the athletes, Mr Fennell said hewas satisfied that there would be little or no adverse effect.
“It’s a funny situation in Beijing because on one day the smog is so dense that you can’t really see much – and the next day it might be bright and sunny like Jamaica. What is clear, is that the high temperatures here are working in our favour because the athletes are very comfortable training in those conditions. A lot has been said about pollution in Beijing but I find that despite the smog, the air quality is quite reasonable.” With regard to the issues around relay training involving members of the MVP track team, Mr Fennell said there was little need for concern, as the challenges had been dealt with and the training programme was on schedule.
“In all groups you always have situations you have to deal with but I’m satisfied things are going well.” He said he expected Jamaica to put on one of its best Olympics performances yet. “We have a very strongteam and because we are the centre of attraction, we are also the centre of attack. We are always bearingthat in mind and trying to make the right steps.” Jamaica’s athletes will be on parade at tomorrow’s opening ceremony and will move into the Olympics village in Beijing on Monday, where final preparations will take place.