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Winter Olympics 2018: Jamaica's historic female bobsleigh team will 'be ready' despite coach chaos

Sandra Kiriasis

Pyeongchang, February 15: Jamaica's historic women's bobsleigh team will still participate at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics despite their preparation being thrown into chaos by the resignation of their coach, insists Dudley 'Tal' Stokes.

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell are set to become the first female bobsledders from Jamaica to compete at the Games, 30 years on from the men's team – which Stokes was a member of – which inspired the cult film 'Cool Runnings'.

However, team coach Sandra Kiriasis quit on Wednesday (February 14), claiming she was forced out by the changing of her role that reportedly would not have allowed her access to the athletes.

The situation has become further problematic with Kiriasis, a 2006 Winter Olympic champion with Germany, threatening to take the team's sled, which she alleges she funded and is responsible for.

But Stokes – who now works as a coach for the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation – does not expect a change in equipment and is adamant Fenlator-Victorian and Russell will compete.

"Chaotic is not the word, it's been a good few days for the team, for the girls. Really good training, we're in very good shape," he told Omnisport.

"For sure we're going to be at the top of the hill for the start of the race and we're going to have a good performance.

"What I can say is that we don't expect there to be any changes in equipment going into the Games.

"In the unlikely event that we do have a problem what I can guarantee is that on race day we're going to be at the start with very competitive equipment and those girls will be ready to go.

"Come start time we're going to be at the top of the hill, we're going to have a competitive sled, the team is going to be ready and we'll have a good performance."

Despite the seemingly acrimonious split, Stokes insists there has been no falling out with Kiriasis and said he respects her decision to step down.

" no falling out and I've been there every step of the way. Sandra took a decision not to be involved any further and that's her decision and we wish her all the best," he added.

"She has been an integral part of our team and has helped us to qualify for these Olympic Winter Games and we will be forever grateful for that.

"But she's chosen to step back and we have to keep going."

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Thursday, February 15, 2018, 15:00 [IST]
    Other articles published on Feb 15, 2018
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