Mon | May 10, 2021

New sled and track already paying off – Stokes

Published:Thursday | January 30, 2020 | 12:20 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

Two months after the launch of their new sled and portable track, Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) president Nelson Stokes says that he is already seeing improvements in Jamaica’s teams on the international circuit.

The new sled and track, which were purchased from the Canadian Bobsled and Skeleton Association with assistance from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), was officially launched in October at the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport in Spanish Town, St Catherine. Although the athletes got limited time to train on the track before the start of international competition, Stokes says that he has seen progress in the way that the various bobsled teams have performed on the circuit.

“We got [the push track] to the end of the summer training season,” Stokes said. “However, we did manage to get some quality training time at GC Foster, and it showed early in the season,” Stokes told The Gleaner. “We were able to get on the ice pushing much better than we normally would have.”

Since the time trial on October 31, Jamaica has competed in a number of events on the North Americas Cup circuit in the United States between November and January. The four-man and two-man bobsled teams, along with the women’s skeleton, have all returned to the United States, training in New York, as they continue competition in 2020. Stokes is relishing the opportunity for the portable track to be used extensively for more comprehensive preseason preparations as they look towards qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

Preseason training

“What we really look forward to is a full preseason of training on the track at GC Foster to really prepare us well,” he said. “Right now, we have teams on ice in Lake Placid in New York, where we will be based for the rest of the year. We have quite a bit of ice time, quite a bit of experience, and relatively inexperienced drivers on the track now, so things are going well. We have to step it up a notch next year, the year before the next Winter Olympic Games.”

This is the second push sled training facility at GC Foster College, but the latest has the additional feature of being easily transportable. Stokes says that the two facilities at the school, with the addition of the one in New York, gives the JBSF the tools required to be successful for the 2020 season and to make a possible jump to higher competition.

“We are very pleased to be working with the folks at the Olympic development group from the Lake Placid facility,” Stokes said. “We have a very good working relationship with them that provides a lot of advantages for us.

So between GC Foster and Lake Placid, we have the ability to really train and prepare to be able to race on North American circuit and hopefully, next year, to move to the World Cup circuit,” he said.