Hawthorne has high hopes for Ja Juniors
Donald Hawthorne, the head coach of Jamaica's team to the July 19-24 World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland ,has hailed the training camp now on at the G.C. Foster College.
Athletes at the camp are under the guidance of some of the country's leading high-school coaches, including Michael Dyke of Edwin Allen High, Kingston College's Neil Harrison, Renaldo Walcott of St Elizabeth Technical, and top local throwing coach Michael Vassell.
Hawthorne likes what he has seen in training so far and is eagerly awaiting the championships.
"First, I must say this is a welcome change to the whole thing as the camp has helped us to see some persons who are not in good shape as it relates to physical preparedness; and so we are able to help them to reach a certain level. This camp is of great importance to the athletes and I am happy it was planned," said Hawthorne.
Hawthorne said the coaches have been doing a wonderful job.
"The staff I have with me is a quality one and they have made my job very easy. They are head coaches of top high-school teams and they come to the camp with a great wealth of knowledge and experience."
A lot of work is going into preparing the relay teams as Jamaica is expected to do well in this area.
"We do baton changes in the afternoon sessions and we are very optimistic that we will do very well in the relays, based on the composition of the team," Hawthorne said.
Two years ago, Jamaica got six medals - one gold, two silver and three bronze in Eugene, Oregon.
Hawthorne expects the present team to do very well, but would not make any predictions on medals.
"We have quality athletes in the likes of Jaheel Hyde, Nigel Ellis, Raheem Chambers, Jhevaughn Matherson, Christopher Taylor, Akeem Bloomfield, Shannon Kalawan and Junelle Bromfield. These athletes are competent enough to help to garner several medals," he said.