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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Frater - Making the Jamaican team means a certain medal

Frater - Making the Jamaican team means a certain medal

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Frater on Jamaican time for Gift

Michael Gleeson
WA Today
April 4, 2012

Stawell Gift rivals (from left): Kim Collins, John Steffensen and Michael Frater. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

DAVID Hookes once provocatively observed that New South Wales cricketers received a baggy green cap in a brown paper bag when they got their navy blue state cap. The higher honour was only a matter of time.

Jamaican sprinter Michael Frater, not so tongue-in-cheek, admits that Jamaican sprinters virtually receive an Olympic medal when they get their team tracksuit.

Of course, only one of them gets the gold medal with his tracksuit, that man is Usain Bolt, the quickest man in the world.

Frater, who is in Australia to run in the Stawell Gift at the weekend, agreed it was harder to make the Jamaican team - where six men who have run 9.9 seconds or faster for the 100 metres are trying to fill just four places on the relay team.

''Definitely, a bunch of the guys have been saying if you make it through the Jamaican trials, you are pretty much guaranteed to get a medal at the Olympics,'' Frater said yesterday.

''We are not thinking about Olympics [now], we know we have to get through the Olympic trials and it is going to be a tough one. But I think we are again hands down to win the gold medal and again break the world record.''

The Jamaican team has run the three quickest sprint relays of all time and Frater and Bolt are the only men to have been members of all three teams. Frater has won world championships and Olympic gold and has a personal best of 9.88sec.

And he is coming to country Victoria to run on grass in an Olympic year. Jamaicans like grass, they train for the first four months of the year on grass, so Stawell will not be a completely foreign experience.

Frater knows the strength of Jamaican running but not entirely why there is that strength. He puts it down in the first instance to Asafa Powell, the former world champion and world record-holder.

''Asafa Powell started it … he had a real breakthrough with running fast. As a small country, track and field has been the basis for us, we are not good at football, basketball or other sports [though Jamaica has produced some of the finest cricketers, including Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh and Chris Gayle]. Guys have started believing in themselves and we have a lot of awesome coaches. Jamaica holds all the major titles in the world right now.''

Frater will be running off scratch in the handicapped event at Stawell, with Kim Collins from St Kitts and Nevis, the former world champion who won bronze at last year's world championships in Daegu, South Korea, starting a metre ahead of him.

Collins came to Stawell last year and was run out in the semi-finals.

''All I have to do is just be patient, I am in great shape I am ready to run, this is an Olympic year … all I need to do is just be patient … two people have won from scratch … [but] I am a very fast athlete and all I have to do is execute.''

Frater said that while Collins won bronze at Daegu last year it was appropriate he was not the backmarker.

''Kim is a very talented athlete, he knows how to compete,'' he said.

Collins who turns 36* today said his performance in Daegu proved age had not wearied him and it certainly did not worry him.

* Collins turns 36 on Thursday 5th April.



Speedy Jamaican Michael Frater warns he is primed for Stawell Gift

By Scott Gullan
From:Herald Sun
April 04, 2012

Michael Frater, John Steffensen and Kim Collins prepare for the Stawell Gift. Picture: Darren Tindale Herald Sun

MICHAEL Frater trains with Asafa Powell and is a relay teammate of Usain Bolt.

That says a lot about how fast the 29-year-old Jamaican can cover the ground, which should concern the rest of the field at this weekend's Stawell Gift.

Frater last year ran a personal best 9.88sec for the 100m and was a member of Jamaica's 4x100m relay team that won world championship gold in South Korea.

The small Caribbean country boasts the top three 4x100m relay performances of all-time and Frater has featured in all three.

So when he says he's in form for Australia's richest footrace, people should listen.

"I am in great shape and I am a very fast athlete and all I ever do is execute, so I think as long as I do that I will have as good a chance as anyone to win," Frater said.

Running on grass at Central Park and trying to be only the third man to win off scratch also does not concern the laidback Jamaican.

"For the first three or four months of the year, we pretty much train on a grass track," Frater said.

"This is an Olympic year and I am in the best shape of my life so all I have to do is just be patient and don't panic with guys in front of me and I think I'll do very well."

In the bigger picture, Frater has a battle just to get in the Olympic team, given he is one of six Jamaicans to better 9.90sec last year and finish inside the world's top 10.

Only three can run in the individual 100m at the London Olympics, with the others fighting for spots on the relay team.

"We are hands-down the favourite to win the relay gold medal and again break the world record," Frater said.

Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis believes the experience of running at Stawell last year will give him the edge over his Caribbean rival.

"I feel I now know enough to win it," he said.

Collins, 36 tomorrow, won the bronze medal in the 100m at the world titles.

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