The Jamaican 53-member squad that will compete at this year’s World Championships were showered with “love and support” in Japan, and for that they are grateful. The team were guests of the Tottori Prefecture — for their pre-World Champs training camp for 10 days, which started on August 8 and ended on August 18. The team received a warm welcome.
Special-needs children presented team members with token paper medals, which they made, and they were entertained by World number one karate expert, Rika Usami.
The Japanese, who covered the costs associated with the Jamaican training camp to the tune of J$20 million, feted the team during a send-off ceremony at the Tottori Civic Hall on Saturday, the Observer reports. Tottori High school band also played Jamaica’s National Anthem during the send-off.
The athletes now head directly to Beijing, China to compete in the 9-Day meet, August 22-31.
Expectations are high as the team aims to give their best for their country and, by extension, represent themselves with distinction.
Fans are expecting the contingent to surpass the 2013 Moscow World Championship medal count in Russia. Jamaica took home nine medals: six gold, two silver and a bronze medal.
On the bus to the airport:
The team comprises 27 males and 26 females and will include for the first time in Jamaica’s history, three male discus throwers – expected to line up in the discus event. There will also be two female triple jumpers in Shanieka Thomas and Kimberley Williams. American-born Aisha Praught has been listed for the 3000m Steeplechase.