Track starts today in Beijing
By SHELDON LONGLEY
NG Sports Editor
BEIJING, China The much anticipated track portion of these 29th Olympic Games here in Beijing, China, finally gets under way today, and one of The Bahamas' best hopes for a medal will be up first.
World Championships' silver medallist Derrick Atkins will run out of lane three in heat eight this morning in Beijing, Thursday night back in The Bahamas.
The quarter-finals are scheduled for Friday night at the Bird's Nest here in Beijing.
Head coach of team Bahamas, Keith Parker, is excited about the entire team, particularly the World medallist who he feels will get The Bahamas off to an excellent start.
"From what I see, the team is looking good. They are all getting along very well together. The sessions are all organized and everything is pointing toward a successful Olympics for The Bahamas," he said.
"Everyone is determined to do the best they can and you can't ask for more than that. If they do their best, we will get some good results.
"As far as Derrick is concerned, he has the reputation of rising to the occasion and we're looking forward to him getting things started for The Bahamas.
"I think that he is pretty confident. I think that once you are in the final, anyone can put together a good race and come out on top all of the Olympic 100 metres prove that.
"Derrick surprised a lot of people last year, and I think there is no reason why he shouldn't do the same here," added Parker.
Parker was referring to last year's Osaka World Cham-pionships when Atkins shocked the world and split former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica and American Tyson Gay for the silver medal.
The race was billed as a marquee match-up between Powell and Gay with no regard for Atkins, but Atkins still snuck in there for the silver medal.
Parker, who himself is a former world class long jumper, said that Atkins just has to focus on getting through the rounds and once he does that he remains confident that he will give 110 percent in the final.
Atkins is just one of the reasons why he feels The Bahamas will continue its remarkable trend of at least one medal at four successive Olympiads.
"To me it runs like clock -work. The athletes are great and we, as coaches, just have to do our job," said Parker.
"Chris is having a good season and he should be on the medal stand. The 4x4 team is looking very good, and Leevan has been jumping very well. Then there are others as well.
"All of them would have to do their best performances of the season but I'm optimistic that they will come through and continue the medal success that we have enjoyed lately."
Auburn University track coach Henry Rolle is in Beijing, and was able to take a few of his former athletes to a training base at Tianjin University, but the track team itself was unable to work out collectively.
Nevertheless, Parker remains confident that they will be able to perform up to par because they have been working out with their personal coaches on a consistent basis.
© 2008 The Freeport News