London: Bolt, the London Games’ leading attraction, arrived at Jamaica`s training camp at the University of Birmingham on Sunday but after his first two nights there, his coach Glen Mills raised concerns about his bed.
Mills asked for it to be replaced by a custom-built 7ft mattress, which Bolt used for the first time on Tuesday night.
The Olympic 100 metres and 200m champion withdrew from Thursday’s grand prix in Monaco after complaining of tightness in his hamstring in the aftermath of his defeat by Yohan Blake at the Jamaican Olympic trials last month.
Zena Wooldridge, the director of sport at the University of Birmingham, said: “There was a fear Usain would be uncomfortable with his bed so in the last few days we’ve had a special orthopaedic mattress made for him.
“Coach Mills wanted the bed made as a precaution so Usain was as comfortable as possible. We used a bed company to supply us with half a dozen 7ft beds for some other athletes so they made us the new mattress. Usain spent his first night in it on Tuesday.
“It’s absolutely critical that the athletes are looked after while they’re staying in Birmingham so we were only too happy to help.”
Bolt, who is 6ft 5in and has a chronic back problem he has had to manage throughout his record-breaking exploits on the track, flew to see controversial German Dr ‘Healing’ Hans Müller-Wohlfahrt after withdrawing from the meeting in Monaco.
As well as Bolt’s orthopaedic mattress, six other 7ft beds have been made for the other taller Jamaican athletes.
The Jamaicans are using the University of Birmingham campus, based in Edgbaston, as their pre-Olympics training camp until next Thursday, when they will move down to London in time for the opening ceremony.
The team consists of 50 athletes, including current 100m world champion Blake and women’s World 200m gold medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown, plus around 25 staff.
The university began their preparations to care for the team five years ago and all has been designed to make the Jamaicans feel as much at home as possible – with painstaking attention even being paid to the food on offer in the restaurant.
However, Wayne Willis, who is the site’s sous chef and has worked there since 2003, revealed there has been one glaring absence from the menu.
“We’ve managed to source most of the food apart from a whole goat’s head,” he said. “We asked the butchers we use but struggled to get one so we’ve used diced goat meat instead and there haven’t been any complaints.
"We’ve also got about 95 per cent of the fruits and vegetables except for callaloo, which is a type of cabbage.
“I’ve been working with a Jamaican chef, Thomas, who’s come over especially and we’ve really hit it off as we’re trying to meet the same common goal. He liaised with some of the athletes and the feedback has been very good.”
BDST: 1711 HRS, July 19, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor
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