Jamaica’s Japan-made ‘Shitamachi Special’ bobsleigh unveiled


A new bobsleigh model developed by about 60 small factory operators in Tokyo for the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation was unveiled Wednesday in the Japanese capital.

A committee promoting the “Shitamachi Bobsleigh” project showed the new “Shitamachi Special” for two riders, painted green, yellow and black — the colors of the Jamaican national flag — and characterized by smaller air resistance compared with earlier models.

The vehicle will undergo test runs starting at the end of October and be used for actual races before improvements are made in the lead up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, the committee’s officials said.

The factories involved are also working on creating a miniaturized model called the “Jamaica Special” based on the design of a Jamaican engineer.

“The craftsmanship from all who participated with the Shitamachi Bobsleigh project is the best in the world,” said Jazmine Fenlator Victorian, a former U.S. Olympian set to compete for Jamaica in the women’s competition at the 2018 Winter Games.

Junichi Hosogai, general manager of the promotion committee, said, “We are confident that (the Jamaican team) will not only be able to compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics but also win a medal.”

The committee had aimed to develop a bobsled for the Japanese national team at the 2018 Olympics, but the squad has decided not to use its services just as it did for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Although earlier models developed for Japanese athletes had a relatively spacious interior based on their request, Jamaican bobsledders were more focused on reducing air resistance than on ensuring room inside.

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