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We'll be alright! – Bobsleigh Federation upbeat after coach's resignation

Jamaica Gleaner / The Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) has said that Sandra Kiriasis’ departure from her role as national women’s bobsleigh team driving coach will not affect the association or its athletes preparing to compete in the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Kiriasis, a world, European and Olympic champion as a competitor for Germany, quit yesterday, with Team Jamaica’s campaign in the women’s bobsleigh event set to start with heats next Tuesday.

It had been reported that her decision to quit came after learning that her coaching role was to be changed.

JBSF official Kathleen Pulito told The Gleaner that team unity has improved since the departure of Kiriasis.

“The past day’s events have brought us even closer,” Pulito said. “Our in-house chef Carrie Russell (brakeman) cooked traditional Jamaican dinner, followed by some dancing (seen on Jazmine’s [Fenlator-Victorian] Instagram). We are ready to focus in the task at hand and block out negativity.


In training camp  

“We have been in a training camp for the last three days, so we have been out of the public eye for some time. We will continue to focus the women towards their training and eliminate as many distractions as possible.”

Pulito, who said Kiriasis was a valued member of the team, thanked her for her contribution, but labelled her decision as “disheartening”.

“What was once a great partnership was quickly soured when she did not agree with some reorganisation to ensure the best outcome and performance for women Jamaica bobsled. We find her decision and actions disheartening ,” Pulito said.

It had also been reported that Kiriasis had threatened to take the team’s sled, which she claimed she legally owned. This led to fears that Jamaica would have had to pull out of the competition if it had no vehicle to compete. However, the JBSF quickly rejected these rumours saying: “She does not own the sled, and we do not anticipate any changes in equipment.”

The JBSF said that despite Kiriasis leaving, the team will move forward with its personnel but is open to assistance from the Canadian team if necessary.

“Our team has been led all season by high performance director, Jo Manning and coach Dudley Stokes. Sandra (Kiriasis) was brought on later in the season and was a driving coach. Team Canada has reached out in support and offered assistance as needed in coaching and equipment.”

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