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Jamaica: Young team bears weight of medal hopes

With a number of medal magnets missing from Jamaica’s track and field team for the first time since the country’s golden era began in 2008, one of the island’s youngest groups to an Olympic Games will be charged with maintaining the double-digit haul locals have been accustomed to over the past decade.

With Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown now retired, Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter in the sunset of their careers, and Omar McLeod failing to make the team, Jamaica has a vacuum of big names from the final list submitted for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

While star performers such as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson Herah, Shericka Jackson, and Shaneika Ricketts are all expected to bring home medals, head coach Maurice Wilson and his management team are in a race against time to get the less experienced athletes sufficiently conditioned to meet the weighty expectations.

Fifty-nine per cent, or 33, of Jamaica’s 56 registered athletes in Tokyo are at their first Olympic Games, with 15 from that group of Olympic rookies making their first trip to a major senior international competition.

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