Jamaican bobsled team determined to overcome challenges in Beijing

Bobsleigh – Jamaica Bobsleigh team members Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott stand next to a Mini Cooper. They drive the car through the streets of Peterborough as part of their training following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Peterborough, Britain May 29, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs

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BEIJING, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Jamaica’s bobsled team is determined to overcome financial problems and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as its four-man roster returns to the Winter Games for the first time in 24 years.

Jamaican bobsled teams have been a welcome fixture at the Winter Games since the country, best known for its tropical climate, beat all odds to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Olympics, which inspired the Disney film “Cool Runnings”.

But the team has faced difficulties preparing for the February 4-20 Games in Beijing due to travel restrictions, with the members not training together for the first time until September.

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“We are a group of guys who literally got together for the first time on September 18, not because of our fault but because of the COVID situation and travel restrictions,” bobsleigh pilot Shanwayne Stevens told Reuters. after landing in Beijing on Saturday.

“…To achieve what we have achieved in such a short time is a testament to the hard work everyone has put in outside of being together.

“Because we knew what we wanted to do was achieve a goal and everyone got into it when we got together. It was a lot easier for us to get along together and then get on really well. perform.”

The team are looking to make amends after their near-miss four years ago when they failed to qualify for Pyeongchang from a place in the world rankings.

“The pandemic is here, but there is more than the pandemic, it is financial difficulties that the team has faced, but the goal has just been to find a way to survive,” said bobsled brakeman Rolando Reid. .

“We have an amazing group of guys who just know the goal and the goal is to get to the Games, perform to the best of our abilities and be good ambassadors for our country.”

Jamaica will also compete in the two-man and women’s monobob, making it the first time in Olympic history that the country has qualified for three bobsleigh events.

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Written by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru, edited by Pritha Sarkar

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