President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) Christian Nelson Stokes and Technical Director Mark Silva are satisfied with Jamaica’s performance in the just-concluded Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
Despite being a fan favourite at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre in Beijing, only one of the three entries in the bobsleigh events, the monobob that was being contested for the first time, had four runs as the two-man and four-man teams ended after three runs.
In bobsleigh competitions, only the top 20 teams get a fourth run to decide the medals and only 20 qualified in the monobob.
Jamaica qualified for a record three sled events as well as Alpine skiing for the first time at the Games. Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian was 19th of 20 teams in the first-ever monobob competition; the two-man team of Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott finished 30th in their event; the four-man team of Stephens, Rolando Reid, Matthew Wekpe, and Ashley Watson finished in 28th positio, while Alpine skier Benjamin Alexander was 46th in the Alpine skiing event, completing both runs, with another 41 skiers failing to finish the event.
Stokes told the Jamaica Observer that “the results are consistent with the medium- to long-term plan”.
He added that the plan was for “top-10 finishes in 2026” and “podium challenges by 2030”.
He said not beeing able to afford the very best equipment played a part. “Obviously equipment played an oversized role with the German domination, but we need to do much better at the start. Shan’s last run demonstrates that he is a world-class pilot with plenty of room to improve so we will be doubling down on him. Jazmine needs to have a few more drama-free years,” Stokes said.
His organisation has started planning for the future. “We will be focusing from now through September on recruiting heavily elite athletes in the 17-21-year-old range to set the foundation for 2030,” Stokes noted.
Silva was emphatic in his assessment of his charges.
“Without doubt the biggest journey and achievement by far. Results were exactly what I expected with the equipment and experience we had,” he said.
The four-man team competed on Friday and Saturday, the final two days of the Games, and they clocked in 1 minute 01.23 seconds for the third round for a combined time of 3:03.42 seconds and 8.25 seconds off the lead and 4.55 seconds off 20th position held by the Brazilian sled, driven by Edson Luques Bindilatti, who was advancing to the fourth round in his fifth Olympic Games.
– Paul Reid