Jamaica Olympic Association and Guatemala Olympic Committee sign historic cooperation agreement

By Sports Desk October 31, 2021
Jamaica Olympic Association and Guatemala Olympic Committee sign historic cooperation agreement JOA

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (GOC) recently signed a historic Sports Co-operation Agreement that will see both bodies cooperating in the areas of applied sport sciences, sports medicine, technology, Olympic values, anti-doping, community and recreational sport, as well as sports administration.

The agreement will also facilitate the exchange of athletes and coaches who will benefit from educational and technical programmes.

The agreement was signed during the XXV General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committee (ANOC) in Greece.

JOA President Christopher Samuda declared that the signing of the agreement signifies an abiding commitment from the JOA and GOC to deepen their already strong bi-lateral relationship under which athletes, coaches, administrators and member federations will benefit from initiatives of capacity building and institutional strengthening, in research, training and education, sports-specific skills and the sciences and technology of sport.

President of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Gerardo Aguirre, also endorsed the historic partnership in regional sporting history.

"For us, Guatemala's NOC, we identified this as an opportunity to generate a connection with sport and athletes between Jamaica and Guatemala,” he said.

“Jamaica has specific strengths in sport and Guatemala has developed others, making these useful for us all to share. Therefore, this makes the signing of this agreement a marvellous opportunity and from it can come various avenues of activities so that Jamaican and Guatemalan athletes can come together."

Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Ryan Foster, who announced the agreement between the two Olympic organizations, explained that both Olympic bodies understand that efforts and relationships in sport must first be athlete-centric and dedicated.

 “Then, for stakeholders' engagement and empowerment and this agreement which we have signed is written testimony of that fact and the reality that friendships and unity in sport defy language barriers and the breadth of seas and oceans," he said.

Director of International Affairs of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Neville Steins, emphasized the importance and high value of the agreement in the context of bringing “not only our countries together through sport, but more still, bringing together the Caribbean and Central America in eliminating the absence of communication owing to language differences through the use of sport and thus bring our countries' athletes together for the common good."

The JOA's foreign policy supports strong and strategic partnerships in providing enabling opportunities for athletes, coaches and administrators.

 "The JOA will continue to build strong partnerships across borders and continents. We started in December 2017 when we inked in Japan with the Tottori Prefecture Government an agreement which is facilitating collaboration beyond the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as for us sport development and diplomacy go beyond events and are life-changing experiences spanning generations. We will continue in earnest as sport is an enabler, equalizer and unifier" President Samuda said.

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  • JOA Building Coaching Capacity JOA Building Coaching Capacity

    A record number of coaches, who were last year registered by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for a rigorous hi-level coaches' course hosted by the Pan Am Sports Organization (PASO), successfully completed and are on course to achieve international certification.

    Coaches from several sports including handball, badminton, judo, taekwondo, gymnastics, baseball, chess, volleyball, lawn tennis and track and field, completed, over six months, seven modules covering areas such as Coaching Philosophy and Leadership, Advanced Performance Planning, Energy Systems and Physiology, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Psychology, Advanced Injury Prevention, Recovery Strategies and High Performance Analysis.

    "Capacity, capability and competency are the three Cs in the educational trilogy of the JOA's empowerment agenda for our coaches who are really the starters, drivers and finishers of the assets of sport development which are our athletes" President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, commented on the success of the initiative.

    Participants across the spectrum of sport have lauded the initiative as "groundbreaking and a step by the JOA in the right direction."

    Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, was pleased with the level of support from the sporting federations and remarked "the response to JOA's call was deafening as it was instructive and demonstrates that coaches want to be and have become a part of the transformation being led by the JOA."

    The JOA last year inaugurated its historic, "Olympic Scholars," an athlete scholarship grant, under which several persons benefited from financial assistance in academic and career pursuits. "This is money giving currency and value to athletes and this is an investment the dividends of which are capitalizing sport and the human capital" Foster said.

    With a strong bi-lateral partnership with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), a strategic alliance World Eleven Inc and the Argentine Football Association and protocols of co-operation with regional and international stakeholders, "the JOA is instilling a culture of excellence in sport education and bringing the sciences and technology of sport into the equation of success." Samuda remarked.

    The JOA will later this year make a call for another coaches' hi-level course and it is expected that it will be oversubscribed as stakeholders in the sporting sector continue to seize opportunities which the governing body is creating.

  • “We did everything we could” – Jamaica two-woman Olympic team's hopes likely snuffed out by weather, Covid “We did everything we could” – Jamaica two-woman Olympic team's hopes likely snuffed out by weather, Covid

    Jamaica Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (JBSF) High Performance Director Mark Silver has lamented the circumstances that saw the country’s women’s two-woman team edged out of the Olympic qualifying positions.

    Up to last month, the women’s team of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and brake woman Audra Segree were favoured to be listed among the automatic qualifiers for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, among the world’s top 12 teams.  By the time January rolled around, however, a conflation of unfortunate circumstances had changed things entirely.  According to Silver, things began to go wrong from the perspective of the team at Latvia's Sigulda World Series where there was a Covid-19 outbreak.

    “We did everything we could.  We missed out because of the weather and believe it or not Covid,” Silver explained.

    How it works is there are races across the world, after Christmas, the first race was in Latvia, and unfortunately, 7 athletes couldn’t race, which meant that athletes that would have finished lower down finished higher and received points that they wouldn’t have if the race was full of athletes,” he added. 

    “In another race, a massive amount of snow meant that athletes who raced later benefited from the snow being clear.  Now, with the snow it's part of the sport, we expect that.”

    In the final standing, the team finished tied with France for the final spot but were edge out via the tiebreak.  The team could still qualify for the Games if France or any of the other 10 teams above them Germany, Canada, United States, China, ROC, Switzerland, Romania, Austria, Great Britain, Australia, or Belgium are unable to take part in the event.

    “With Covid, the girls finished third overall on the NAC, and before Christmas, I would have said I was confident and with the press release, had it been what we had expected and predicted they were probably our safest option,” he added 

    “However, things that changed but that’s sports.  For each bad thing that goes against you sometimes we get good things and fingers crossed we were bang on points, and who knows maybe this time around luck will go with us.  Hopefully not at the expense of anyone else but hopefully the girls will get to live their dreams as well because they worked so hard.”

  • Jamaica Olympic Association's Equipment Grant Scheme bearing sweet fruit Jamaica Olympic Association's Equipment Grant Scheme bearing sweet fruit

    The initiative by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) to invest millions into its equipment grant is bearing fruit with a number of member associations making use of the funds.

    Financing for the program that provides funding for sporting associations to acquire equipment deemed critical to building capacity for sport and the performance of athletes, was made possible by way of a three-year partnership worth $45 million with Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL).

    Seventeen member associations have so far benefitted, including the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) and the Jamaica Gymnastics Association (JAGA).  The Jamaica Golf Association, Jamaica Karate, Jamaica Bobsleigh, and Skeleton Federation also benefitted from the initiative as well as the Jamaica Cricket Association and the Jamaica Wrestling Federation.

    In recent times, the ASAJ had been in desperate need of new lane lines for the national swimming pool at Independence Park Limited, as the ones that were in use had deteriorated so badly over the years, swimmers were at risk of injury whether during practice or competition.

    However, the cost of replacing them – more than US$16,000 – proved prohibitive, which has been further impacted by the onset of the pandemic.

    ASAJ President Martin Lyn explained that the JOA came to their aid after he outlined the challenges the association faced in acquiring new lane lines.

    “The previous ones that we had, over time, deteriorated so that were sharp edges so swimmers could possibly get cut or bruised if they came in contact with the lane lines while swimming. So, the lane lines were very important for us and we simply could not afford to purchase them ourselves,” Lyn said.

    “I approached the JOA. They not only helped but they paid for all of the lane lines. So the equipment grant was very helpful to the ASAJ. It is something that will be used for many years before we will need new lane lines.”

    Lyn also explained that the new lane lines give the association some flexibility as it relates to their usage.

    “Some of the lane lines that we now have can be used for both training and competition. They can also be used as a cordon for water polo. It was a very big help. We really appreciate the JOA partnering with us to ensure that our young athletes benefit.”

    The gymnastics association has also lauded the JOA for their help via the grant in acquiring some important pieces of equipment that would help the athletes upgrade their skills.

    “The JOA has been so supportive and serious about developing sports in Jamaica. They have assisted us with the purchase of three air vents for the gymnasium valued over $300,000 and also much-needed landed foam blocks to complete our landing pit to the tune of $1.5m,” said the association’s president Nicole Grant.

    “We desperately needed the landing mats to help upgrade the gymnasts’ skills to prepare them for the Central American Championships and the Pan American Hopes Tournament later this year. We have already seen improvement in our gymnasts as they continue to train towards these events.” 

    Grant said the initiative is yet another feather in the cap of the JOA that has been supportive of her fledgling association.

    “We are truly thankful and grateful to the JOA because they have demonstrated time and again that their job is way beyond just sending teams to Games and the Olympics but helping with the development from the grassroots levels and educating our gymnasts and administrators through their various programs and scholarships that we have been on the receiving end of,” Grant said.

    “Through the JOA, Olympian Toni-Ann Williams is currently in Europe pursuing a Masters in Sports Administration and I have recently completed the Diploma in Advance Sports Management conducted by the JOA. It’s definitely a blessing to be affiliated to such an institution that demonstrates time and again that assisting with the holistic development of a sport is necessary to achieve its ultimate goals.”

     

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