As football dominates the local sporting landscape, athletics coach Teddy Daley wants to remind everyone of the strides the men’s 4×100-meter relay team continues to make.
In studio yesterday on OBSERVER Radio’s Good Morning Jo-Jo, Daley was in full belief that despite the team’s sixth place finish in the 4x100m final at the recently held World Championships in China, they can make it on the medal podium one year from now at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“I strongly believe that we can medal at the Olympics. Our guys, they are 19, 20, 21, so physical maturity has not yet been realised. It means, therefore, next year they are going to be stronger,” Daley declared.
The team, which set a new national record of 38.01 in China, includes Miguel Francis, Jared “Shark” Jarvis, Chevaughn Walsh, and Cejhae Greene, with veteran Daniel “Bakka” Bailey, 28, being the squad’s de facto leader.
Daley said the team will continue getting better once the adequate support is provided to the sprinters.
It is in light of this need for support that the coach welcomes the ministry of sports’ pledge of US $100,000 to support the team.
Daley said that the national athletics association would be meeting “in the next few days” to “carefully plan how these funds are going to be utilized.”
He underscored the importance of actual racing experience, and having the team “practice under pressure” in the lead-up to Rio 2016.
Daley said one can train in isolation all they want, but “unless you practice (things such as focusing and baton hand-overs) under that condition (actual competition), you would never know for sure.”
The team has a short time to rest, according to Daley, as training for the Olympics will start in October.
One wrinkle that has to be dealt with, however, is the nagging injury that has been affecting Bailey, and which caused him to drop out of the 100m event in at the World Championships.
According to the athletics instructor, “He (Bailey) is going to have surgery to fix the problem once and for all. He recognises that if he’s going to be at his best, he has to deal with that problem.”
Daley continued, “He’s gonna deal with it shortly, so I’m sure we’re going to see a much improved Bakka by next year.”
Much improved; that is the hope for not just Bailey, but for the whole team, as coach Daley has his sights set on Olympic glory for the team, and for the nation.