Jamaican athletes need extra long beds

EXTRA-long beds are being brought in by a British university to accommodate athletes from the the Jamaican 2012 Olympic team.

The University of Birmingham is having to specially order the supersized beds – so that giant athletes like Usain Bolt do not fall out and injure themselves.

Athletes from the Jamaican squad will complete their pre-Olympic training at the university two weeks before the London games open in July 2012.

But with some members of the 70-strong squad – such as 6ft 5 ins Bolt – towering above athletes from most other countries, the university will have to specially order the long beds to accommodate their tall guests.

The beds, expected to measure around 6ft 6ins, will be set up in special conference accommodation designed to host special guests.

Athletes will share twin rooms, and it is thought that up to a dozen of the special beds could be ordered.

Zena Woolridge, director of sport at the University of Birmingham, said that they are working closely with the Jamaican squad to ensure every need is catered for.

She said: “We don’t want them falling out or somebody walking past hitting their feet while they are hanging out the end of the bed. They could get injured. We want to provide the best facilities for them across every level.

“It’s critical that athletes get the right fuel, we have a great catering team that will be able to provide the precise type and quality of food they need, and they will want Jamaican food.

“At the Beijing Olympics they really struggled to get the food they are used to eating, which is why you saw lots of stories about them visiting McDonald’s.

“Having 60,000 Jamaican people in Birmingham, I think we know a thing or two about producing Jamaican food.”

They will use the university’s training facilities, including its running tracks and weight rooms.

Special catering and entertainment arrangements are also being made for the team.

The Jamaican track and field officially signed a contract to train in Birmingham for the 2012 Olympics in February last year.

The deal means the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt will live and train at
the University of Birmingham.

Final arrangements are expected to begin after the team has competed in the World Athletics Championships at the end of August this year.

The team will also use the facilities at the Alexander Stadium in the Perry Barr area of the city.

The new beds are being ordered to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep for the team, including Bolt who stands 6ft 5ins tall.

Birmingham is also hosting training camps for the USA track and field team and the combined deals are believed to be worth around GBP15 million.

Birmingham triumphed over cities including Cardiff, Loughborough, Amsterdam and Berlin to secure the Jamaican team.

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