Jamaica’s “golden son” Usain Bolt rounded off a brilliant World Athletics Championshsips in Berlin by being guest of honour at an exclusive reception for travel and tourism officials at the Jamaica & Tui VIP Lounge, Park Inn Hotel.
The top-level gathering applauded Jamaica’s successful leverage of its sporting heroes at the nine-day tournament and the island’s ambitions to become a sport tourism front runner.
Usain Bolt said: “It’s been a wonderful championships. I’m tired but I’ve got everything I wanted so I’m just happy.
“I’ll party when I get back to Jamaica.”
The sprinter was on hand to applaud an address by Jamaica Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett.
Mr Bartlett said: “The last nine days has proven beyond doubt that the power of sport can redefine a nation’s world-wide perception and the natural synergies can revolutionise a destination’s travel and tourism industry.”
“Jamaica has successfully utilised the relationships we have with our partners and stakeholders here, including tour operators TUI and sportswear giants Puma, and the power of our elite athletes to revolutionise the nation’s brand and to drive future tourism growth. We are anticipating very rich rewards.”
(Pictured right: Jamaica Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett, with John Lynch, Director of Tourism at Jamaica Tourist Board, plus Jamaican sprinting legends Shelly-Ann Fraser and Usain Bolt)
Bolt, who broke the 100m and 200m world records, capped off an incredible championships by picking up the coveted World Sports Awards “Men’s Athlete of the Year”.
(Pictured left: Usain Bolt with Graham Cooke, President & Founder World Sports Awards)
Bolt was also on hand to help celebrate the announcement that Jamaica will field an entry in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race.
The boat, named Jamaica Lightning Bolt, in honour of the fastest man on earth, will compete against nine identical stripped down 68-foot yachts in the 35,000-mile race around the world. It sees the Caribbean island’s return to the event after first fielding an entry in the 07-08 running of the Clipper race.
Usain Bolt commented, “I am honoured to have the Jamaica Clipper named after me. I love the fact that this competition is open to all, and that you don’t have to have any experience or be a professional sailor to take part. The concept of everyday people responding to a challenge that will really test them is what sport should be all about. I’m sure the Jamaican people will give the crew the best welcome when they arrive in Port Antonio in May next year. I wish Jamaica Lightning Bolt all the speed in the world! ”
Hon. Edmund Bartlett said, “Sports tourism in Jamaica had a shot in the arm this week with Bolt’s amazing 100m and 200m world record times and with the gold medal performances from the rest of the Jamaican squad. To be involved again with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is yet another element of our strategy to put Jamaica on the map by using our sporting events, our sporting heroes and our sporting facilities to show the world that we may be a small island but we are a great nation of sporting excellence.”
While Bolt covered 100 metres in a world record time of 9.58 seconds at the Berlin meet, the racing crew will need to stay competitive for quite a bit longer – their circumnavigation will take ten months to complete.
Bolt is one of a long list of household names backing the biennial Clipper Race. State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has firmly endorsed the Californian entry while the most recent visitor to the Scottish entry Edinburgh Inspiring Capital was His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.
The Clipper Race was founded by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world. He wanted others to be able to follow in his footsteps regardless of previous sailing ability and this will be the seventh running of the race.
Sir Robin says, “It’s great to welcome Jamaica back to the race track and we look forward to working with the Jamaica Tourist Board as we take their message, ‘Once you go, you know,’ around the world.”
(Pictured right: a media scrum at the Jamaica & Tui VIP Lounge, Park Inn Hotel, as the chosen one takes to the stage)
The Clipper 09-10 Race will start from the Humber on the east coast of England on 13 September 2009, returning on 17 July 2010.