sport

Jamaica bobsleigh team qualify

The Jamaican bobsleigh team will end a 12-year absence from the Winter Olympics after confirming their qualification at the Sochi Games.

And Jamaican Chef de Mission and four-time Olympic bobsleigh team member Nelson Stokes promised the team will definitely be on the start line despite major funding concerns.

Winston Watts will pilot the team at the age of 47 and will be joined by 30-year-old brake-man Marvin Dixon.

Their return represents the latest chapter of a Winter Olympics odyssey which began with the debut of the Jamaican four-man team's debut in Calgary in 1988, which later inspired the hit movie 'Cool Runnings'.

Stokes said: "I can confirm that we have qualified a team for Sochi and it means a great deal that we are able to return to Olympic competition after a few years of missing out.

"There is still great enthusiasm for bobsleigh in Jamaica and we are making great progress with our funding. We will definitely be in a position to take part in the Games."

The Jamaican team performed poorly at their second Olympics in 1992 but finished a creditable 14th in 1994.

A two-man team in 2002 included brake-man Lascelles Brown, who later moved to Canada and went on to win Olympic medals as part of the Canadian two-man team in 2006 and 2010.

Despite their successful battle to qualify, the team has also faced a major battle to raise the estimated 50,000 needed to fund their trip to Russia.

Stokes added: "It is difficult for us to build a grass-roots programme because bobsleigh is still very much seen as an Olympic sport.

"But we are hoping that by returning to the Olympics in Sochi we will once again build up the momentum which will enable us to go on and challenge for medals in the future."