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Speedbump: Jamaican bobsled team vow to fight on despite luggage loss

‘Helmets, spikes, lycra suits, everything is somewhere between JFK and Sochi.’

Winston Watts sits out training in Sochi.
Winston Watts sits out training in Sochi.
Image: Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Press Association Images

JAMAICA’S BOBSLEIGH TEAM have suffered a serious Olympics setback after their luggage and equipment went missing but insist they will still compete even if they have to beg gear from rival nations.

“We had bad weather going into New York JFK and had to go to Philadelphia first,” Jamaican team pilot Winston Watts said.

“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 suits, everything is somewhere between JFK and Sochi.”

Despite the setback, Watts, who inspected the daunting course at the Sanki sliding centre on Wednesday, insisted his team will still make it to the first training session on Thursday — even if they have to borrow equipment.

“I’m looking around and trying to get some helmets and stuff like that. Tomorrow is an official training session for people who’ve never been down this ice,” he said.

“We’ll make it tomorrow, I guarantee that. It’s still a learning process and we have a lot more to learn. I’ve walked around the course today learning the curves. But when you’re inside the bob there’s a completely different feeling.”

Jamaica’s two-man team, who have qualified for the Winter Games after a 12-year absence, are hoping to represent their country with the same vigour and enthusiasm shown by their 1988 Calgary counterparts, who inspired the Hollywood movie “Cool Runnings”.

I see pride…

“We’re definitely not the Games favourites but we came here to represent our country with pride,” said Watts, who competed in Japan and again in Salt Lake City in 2002.

“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.”

Watts added that their qualification for the Olympics even received the full support of world sprint superstar Usain Bolt.

“We’ve got all possible support from our colleagues at home,” Watts said.

“Everybody loves and supports us there. We’ve talked once to Usain (Bolt) and he also congratulated us on the Olympic qualification and wished us good luck at the Games.”

- © AFP, 2014

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