Former Sheffield Hallam student set for Winter Olympics debut with Jamaica bobsleigh team this weekend

Showtime is almost here for a former Sheffield Hallam student who helped Jamaica’s bobsleigh team to a historic winter Olympics qualification.

Thursday, 17th February 2022, 6:22 pm

Ashley Watson, who completed his master’s degree in physiotherapy in December, is set to represent the Caribbean island in Beijing as part of a four-man bobsleigh team, conjuring memories of the iconic film Cool Runnings.

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It will be the first time Jamaica has fielded a four-man team in 24 years.

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Former Sheffield Hallam student Ashley Watson (second from right) and his Jamaica team-mates.

The four-man bobsleigh event begins on Saturday, with the medals decided the last day of competition at the Games this Sunday.

Peterborough-born Ashley, aged 28, said: “It’s a great honour to be able to represent Jamaica and hopefully inspire the next generation of Jamaican bobsleigh athletes. It’s a childhood dream come true.

"It has taken consistent training for 10 years, and I want to show that no matter who you are or where you come from, if you have a dream and you believe, it will happen.

"If you’re ready to sacrifice lots to get there it will happen - life has no limits.”

The Jamaican bobsleigh team became world famous as a result of their exploits in the 1988 games in Calgary, with Cool Runnings loosely based around their story.

Since qualifying, Ashley and his team-mates have been the subject of media interest from around the world.

He has targeted making history this weekend.

Speaking last month, he told The Star: "I don’t want to go to the Olympics just to be there. I would love a top-10 finish. I definitely want to be in the best Jamaican team in the history of bobsleigh.”