Jamaican athletes hail University sport facilities as 'second to none'

University Director of Sport, Zena Wooldridge, centre, with the Jamaican team.

The Jamaican Track and Field Team has returned to the University of Birmingham this month for their World Championship final preparation camp.  The team of 50 athletes are making use of the outstanding facilities available, ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London in August.

The University welcomes back the team, including the 2011 youngest 100m world champion, Yohan Blake, and in-form 100m and 200m Olympic Champion from Rio, Elaine Thompson.

The facilities used in 2012 have been replaced, so the Jamaican team return to a brand new eight-lane athletics track and the University’s extensive new £55million Sport & Fitness Club, which opened in May.

Director of Sport at the University, Zena Wooldridge OBE said: “In 2012 between the University and the city we set a new bar for training camps. With this camp we want to set that bar higher still.

“We are delighted to be hosting a Jamaican team that is packed with talent and capable not only of winning medals, but breaking records.”

First Vice President of the Jamaican team, Ian Forbes, said: “The University of Birmingham has tremendous facilities. The accommodation, hospitality and welcome has been excellent and the new Sport and Fitness Centre is second to none. Many thanks to the University and Birmingham City Council along with others who have made this camp a success.”

Jamaican World Champion hurdler Danielle Williams, looking to defend her 2015 100m title, talked about the high quality of facilities available to the athletes. She said: “The new track facilities are great. It’s a fast track; definitely a sprinter’s track.”

The IAAF World Athletics Championships in London will be the swansong for the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, who personally thanked the University for the support and facilities that helped him win his second ‘triple’ gold medal in London, including a new world record for the Jamaican 4 x 100m relay team. The University of Birmingham is proud to be hosting Bolt prior to his final Championship.

The preparation camp also coincides with Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, in which the University’s campus could provide a range of training venues, and competition venues for hockey and squash.

Don Quarrie, part of the Jamaican team’s coaching staff, and a former international athlete, said: “The training here at the University of Birmingham made a big difference to the Jamaican team in 2012. This year, all the facilities are brand new. I’d like to thank the University for working so hard to make sure everything works well for us.

“Birmingham is a sporting city. Having the Commonwealth Games here would definitely produce first class performances and send a message to the rest of the world about Birmingham. I support the Birmingham bid.”

 Notes to editors

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  • University of Birmingham’s track and field will be the home training facility for the University of Birmingham Athletics and Cross Country Club which includes international athletes such as British 1500m Indoor Champion, Sarah McDonald.
  • University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness opened in May 2017, it features Birmingham’s first 50m pool, six glass back squash courts, 200+ station gym, five activity studios, an indoor sports arena, 10m climbing wall and more.
  • The University of Birmingham is currently ranked in the top ten universities for sport in the UK.
  • The University have invested in new outdoor sport facilities which are planned to open this year including new pitches and a pavilion.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.