Birmingham & Black Country

London 2012: Jamaican track and field training session

Media captionLudlow Watts, manager of the Jamaican Olympic team, said Birmingham was "the best place for a Jamaican squad"

The Jamaican track and field athletics team has held an open training session in Birmingham, without 100m world record holder Usain Bolt.

Team officials said they did not know where Bolt was during the event, but he was "101% ready" for the Olympics.

The team is based at the University of Birmingham ahead of the Games.

Hundreds of people from schools, sports clubs and community groups watched the session at the university athletics track on the Edgbaston campus.

Former Olympic sprinter Don Quarrie, the Jamaican track and field technical athletics manager, said he did not know why Bolt was not there.

"But we are happy the rest of the athletes are here," he said.

"Usain represents Jamaica, I'm sure we are there on behalf of Usain.

"I don't know where he is at the moment, but he is 101%, he's ready."

'Nice and friendly'

About 40 students from the university acted as volunteers to help out at the event.

One volunteer, Tamara Armoush, 20, is part of the university's athletics club. She met Bolt following his arrival in the city.

"He was really nice and friendly and understood it was cool for us to help out because we're athletes as well.

"He's been talking to quite a few people since he's been here," she said.

One of the athletes, the men's 4 x 400m relay runner Errol Nolan, said the team was grateful for the backing of Birmingham's Jamaican community.

"Thank you for all your support - we love it here and Birmingham's good for shopping," he said.

Dominique Blake, who will be competing in the women's 4 x 400m relay, said: "It's been really good - for the Caribbean community and the community overall.

"It's been a welcoming experience and I will definitely be back."

Image caption Olive Thomas, born in Jamaica, said it was nice to have the chance to attend the event in Birmingham

Olive Thomas, who was born in Jamaica, works at Birmingham Mental Health Foundation Trust which is one of the community groups that attended the event.

She said: "It's nice for Birmingham to put this on for the community.

"I've been watching the athletes on TV and I was a sports person at school."

Another spectator, Jenny Johnson, 46, whose parents were born in Jamaica said: "I'm very excited to support the team, it's quite overwhelming."

Last week about 3,000 schoolchildren watched the US track and field athletics team training in Birmingham.

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