Christian Stokes, president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF), disagrees with Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies (UWI) head, Dr Damien King’s recent tweet that, Jamaica’s participation in bobsled is ridiculous because it does not emerge from local capacity, activity or behaviour, or geography.
In his tweet, King added that the sport does not represent Jamaica and that it will always be what he described as “tokenism.”
But Stokes refuted all those claims, while insisting that Jamaica’s participation in Bobsled represents the best of Jamaicans and their willingness to succeed in unfamiliar territories against all odds.
“I find that odd and concerning that this is the thinking from the head of a think tank. We have been in the sport 30 years and had athletes from Kingston, Mandeville, St Thomas. Of all the athletes in 30 years, we may have had two or three from the diaspora,” Stokes said.
“Audrey Segree is a student at UTech (University of Technology) and so is Carrie Russell. So I don’t know what he means that it does not emerge from local capacity. There are less than a dozen countries in the world with bobsleigh tracks, but there are over 60 countries that participate,” he reasoned.
Stokes noted that Jamaica’s go-kart derby is very close to bobsledding and Jamaicans’ speed, strength and hand-eye coordination make them ideal for the activity.
“The idea of it not coming from local activity or behaviour is false. We have a practice very close to bobsled and that is the Go-Kart Derby,” Stokes explained.
He believes the professor should be using his intellect to understand how Jamaicans are able to excel wherever they go, in any condition, and apply that behaviour to our economic principles.
“It is an opinion worth considering,” Stokes said. “It is of no damage. I don’t think he rises to the level of having that kind of negativity on anybody. What he should be asking himself is how a developing country finds itself in the company of advanced countries in bobsleigh, and how we can move ourselves as a country generally to be in that company in terms of our economics.”
He added that. “He (King) said it doesn’t represent Jamaica, but it actually represents the best of Jamaica. Every corner of the world you go, you find Jamaicans excelling. It is in our nature, it is the best part of us, that we go out in the world in unfamiliar and strange places and make our mark, that is the best of Jamaica,” he stated.
When contacted by STAR Sports, King was not willing to respond.