Jamaica can top Rio medal table - Blake

January 04, 2016
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Local athletics chief Warren Blake believes that Jamaica can top the track and field medal table at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), says the 110 metre hurdles and the men's 4x400 metre relays are the events that could make the difference and is quietly confident about the prospects for the nation's athletes for 2016.

Reflecting on the seven gold medal haul by Jamaica at last year's World Championships in Beijing, Blake said, "If we had got another gold and there are places where we could have got another gold but it just didn't work out we would have topped the medal table."

In Beijing, Jamaica won gold medals courtesy of Usain Bolt in the men's 100 metres and 200m, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the women's' 100m, both 4x100 metres relays and the ladies 4x400 metres.

However, Kenya edged Jamaica to top the table by one gold medal.

Blake is foreseeing a change for the better.

"If you look at the areas in which we did well in 2015, we are set to still do well in those areas and we have a good crop of 400m runners coming up. Our hurdlers male and female are expected to do well again, and with a bit of luck, we can do better in the male hurdles."

He considers both Hansle Parchment and Omar McLeod, second and sixth respectively in Beijing, as potential Olympic champions.

He welcomed the government-funded athletes' support programme and reported that his association is currently looking for sponsors to contribute to a feeding programme.

"Right now," he said, "We're looking sponsorship to put in a feeding programme so that the clubs can optimise the performance of their athletes."

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