Monday, August 11, 2008

Sprint success brings pride to Caribbean islands

Sprint success brings pride to Caribbean
Jamaican Women's 4x100m Relay team wins gold at Athens 2004 (Photo credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

(BEIJING, August 6) -- In recent years the Caribbean islands have become a feared sprinting power, more than capable of challenging the USA, which had dominated men's and women's sprinting.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica is the current men's 100m world record holder with 9.72 seconds, a record he took from compatriot Asafa Powell. Four years ago, at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, it was the Jamaican women who made the headlines, with Veronica Campbell winning gold in the 200m and as part of the 4x100m relay team.

For St. Vincent and the Grenadines Athletics team manager Leroy Llewellyn, Jamaica's success, and that enjoyed in the Olympic Games by the Bahamas and by Ato Boldon from Trinidad and Tobago and Obadele Thompson of Barbados, has given pride to the region and fuelled hope for future success.

He said, "It is important as it shows that in the Caribbean countries that are less-developed than metropolitan countries, that once you have the right conditions for the guys coming to the sport, they can do just as well as other countries."

Llewellyn is confident there will be more success for the islands; Bolt and Powell are expected to head in the 100m final and he thinks the world record holder will take the gold medal.

"It's going to be one of the two. My bet would be on Usain. I believe that Asafa is always too late out of the blocks. If he can get out early he can provide some competition."

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines athletics team to Beijing consists of two athletes - three less than the Athens 2004 Olympics.

"We hope by 2010 to have a proper stadium with a proper track. We are hoping by the time of 2012, by the time of London, we should have more athletes in attendance," concluded Llewellyn.

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