Frater says sprint relay team targeting memorable farewell

Hamilton (Bermuda), April 24 (IANS) Veteran Jamaican sprinter Michael Frater has said the country’s star-studded 4×100 metres relay team will be hoping to make a big statement at the Rio Olympics, as many of them prepare to exit the international stage.

The 33-year-old Frater was part of the Jamaica team which stormed to a new World and Olympic record in London four years ago as they won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, reports CMC.

He was joined by World and Olympic champion Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter and Olympic silver medallist, Yohan Blake.

Frater said most of the team were now in the twilight of their careers but would be looking to repeat their heroics one last time.

“We’re looking to do the same thing we did at the last Olympics and the one before that,” said Frater, who was down to compete at Friday’s Bermuda Invitational Permit Meet here on Saturday.

“We’ve been very dominant over the past ten years and I doubt we have lost a relay other than the World Relays last year (when Jamaica were beaten by the United States).”

“A lot of the guys are getting closer to the end of their careers and Usain is saying he’s going to do this for about two more years. It’s the last go-around for most of us and we’re looking to continue our winning trend and end on a high,” he added.

Jamaica streaked to a stunning 36.84 seconds in London, finishing ahead of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, who were third.

Frater also featured in the team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics which posted a then world record 37.10 seconds, along with Bolt, Carter and Asafa Powell.

He said the current generation of athletes had transformed track and field in Jamaica and propelled the sport to unprecedented heights.

“Before us Jamaica was good but not that good, other than Herb McKenley in the [1950s] and Don Quarrie in the 70s,” Frater said.

“There is now a tradition of sprinting and the Boys’ Championships (secondary schools meet) is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Track and field is our major sport, bigger than soccer, and that’s what most of us excel in.”

He added: “What my generation has accomplished has inspired the youth and they realise that Jamaica can be world-beaters. I’m seeing kids now running such fast times, times that I didn’t run when I was coming up.”

Frater has not competed regularly since the London Olympics, due in large part to injuries which required a couple operations.

However, he said he was slowly working his way back into competition shape.

“I’ve had to refocus and rejuvenate my body, all the time thinking about my ultimate goal of the Olympics,” he noted. “I had to go back to day one to get that hunger and dedication, and it’s really paying off.”



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