London 2012 Olympics: Reggae beats and sunshine for Jamaicans in Birmingham

Dominique Blake at Birmingham University. Picture: PA
Dominique Blake at Birmingham University. Picture: PA
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THE side of the track was packed with school kids waving tiny Jamaican flags and jamming to the blaring tunes of Bob Marley. They were waiting in the searing sun to catch any sort of glimpse of the world’s fastest runner.

One by one, the Jamaicans ran by the children as they completed their workouts, drawing appreciative applause. But Usain Bolt never appeared. Neither did Yohan Blake or any of the other top sprinters.

There was one Blake there but it was Dominique Blake, part of the 4x400m relay team. She was one of the most jubilant Jamaicans, constantly engaging the crowd on a scorcher of a day. “A great environment,” she said. “This team has a lot of positivity and I expect great execution.

“When you put positivity and great execution together, all the rest will come.”

After the event, Don Quarrie, an Olympic gold medalist and the team’s technical athletics manager, was left to defend Bolt and the other big stars who stayed away from the event.

“I don’t know why he didn’t come,” Quarrie said. “We’re happy about the rest of the athletes that were there.”

So, where was he?

“If you know, tell me,” Quarrie said. “I don’t know where he is at this moment. I’m sure he’s in our training camp.”