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Drama for Jamaica as coach quits trailblazing women bobsled team

AFP logoAFP 5 days ago
Jamaica's delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games © Provided by Agence France-Presse (AFP) Jamaica's delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games

The fairytale journey of Jamaica's first female Winter Olympics team hit a major bump Wednesday when its bobsleigh coach quit just days before they were due to compete in Pyeongchang.

In a message on their Twitter account the trailblazing Jamaica bobsled team announced that their driving coach -- former Olympian Sandra Kiriasis -- had left.

"Sandra Kiriasis has elected not to continue her position with Jamaica Bobsleigh," the statement said.

"We are deeply disappointed in her decision to leave the program. We thank her for her invaluable contribution to JBSF and contributing to the success of Jamaica's first female bobsled Olympic appearance," it added.

The announcement gave no reason for why Kiriasis had made such an abrupt departure.

The Jamaican team are making history in South Korea as the Caribbean island's first female Winter Olympic competitors.

Their participation comes 30 years after a men's bobsleigh team made a historic appearance at the 1988 Calgary games, a feat that provided the inspiration for the 1993 movie "Cool Runnings."

Kathleen Pulito, a spokeswoman for the team, said the departure of the German-born coach would not impact their preparations and they would be on the ice this weekend for training ahead of qualifying next week.

"We've been approached by many nations with extra equipment, coaching staff and we're extremely thankful," Pulito told AFP. "The Canadians have offered assistance."

Kiriasis, 43, won a gold medal in the two-woman bobsleigh at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and a silver in the event in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Related slideshow: Best of 2018 Winter Olympics (Provided by photo services) 

Canada's gold medallists Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz bite their medals on the podium during the medal ceremony for the 2-man bobsleigh at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 20, 2018. 2018 Winter Olympics
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