Jamaica’s bobsleigh team suffer setback

Rosa Khutor (Russia), Feb 7 (IANS/CMC) Jamaica’s bobsleigh team has suffered another setback in their effort to compete at the Winter Olympics beginning Friday in Sochi.

Their luggage and equipment have gone missing on their way to Moscow just days after they were able to overcome a financial hurdle. However, the athletes are insisting that despite the setback, they still intend to compete in the games which run until Feb 23.

“We had bad weather going into New York JFK and had to go to Philadelphia first. We flew Tuesday almost all day long but after we came here we found out that our luggage got left back there. We’ve got nothing right now with us. Helmets, spikes, lycra suites, everything is somewhere between JFK and Sochi,” Jamaican team pilot Winston Watts said.

Watts, who inspected the course Wednesday, insisted his team will still make it to the first training session, even if they have to borrow equipment.

“I’m looking around and trying to get some helmets and stuff like that. It’s still a learning process and we have a lot more to learn. I’ve walked around the course, learning the curves. But when you’re inside the bob, there’s a completely different feeling.”

Jamaica’s two-man team has qualified for the Winter Games after a 12-year absence. The exploits of their counterparts in the 1988 Calgary Olympics have inspired the Hollywood movie Cool Runnings.

“We’re definitely not the favourites but we came here to represent our country with pride. With the help of our friends, sponsors and Jamaica’s Olympic Association, we’ve raised around $148,000 for travel expenses and preparations for the Games and are set to spend it wisely,” said Watts, who also competed in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 Games.