JOA President Christopher Samuda tells Tornadoes Swim Club to “deep dive” for success

By Sports Desk February 03, 2023

JOA President, Christopher Samuda, was in a “business unusual” mode in addressing the audience at the Tornadoes Swim Club’s recent 2022 Awards Ceremony held at its new home on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

President Samuda challenged Jamaica’s aspiring Olympic swimmers to “deep dive into history and there you will find the inspiration of Tornadoes’ Olympians. Deep dive into the present and there you will discover you, the present generations of swimmers, images of yourself, as you aspire to be on the Olympic stage. Deep dive into the future and you will envision what you must become – the standard by which swimmers will be judged, a model athlete and a legacy creator.”

The past year for the club was very successful with Sabrina Lyn, Israel Allen and Rhiana Gayle receiving athlete of the year awards in their respective disciplines at the RJR/Gleaner National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony, a feat which underscores the club’s prowess.

In exhorting the swimmers, President Samuda charged them “to possess a spirit of commitment, an uncompromising spirit to transform the sport by dint of your own performances and the standards which define those performances and to possess the character of a champion that goes beyond and above the podium on which you will receive that gold medal and the admiration of a national, regional and global sporting fraternity.”

But, like an experienced diver who surfaces with the pearl, President Samuda reminded Jamaica’s aspiring Olympians that “when you deep dive you can’t remain under water. You must rise like a phoenix with the prize held aloft in victory, in triumph. For it is only when you rise that you will have understood and overcome the challenges of the deep and appreciate the horizon of the human spirit and be able to tell your story.”

The narrative of sport is equally a national as it is a community story and this truism was emphasised by JOA’s boss in delivering his address. In encouraging Jamaica’s future, he said: “Outside of the household of the Tornadoes swim club there is a community to which you, swimmers, belong and have a duty to be model citizens. The principles of fair play and mutuality in sport, the value of friendships made in sport and the character of humility in victory and resilience in disappointment experienced in sport are priceless qualities which must never depart from you and your experience in your community.”

In the sport’s recent Olympic history, Alia Atkinson, has been carrying the national flag with distinction and President Samuda, in expressing optimism for the future, comments that “there is a reservoir of talent that can provide an Olympic stream but we must, in a structured and almost scientific way, unlock the talent pipeline when they are young in opening the floodgates when they become mature.”

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    President of the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA), Christopher Samuda and JPA directors, Ryan Foster, Carmen Patterson and Winfield Boban are committing their professional expertise and experience in building the new APC.

    Samuda, an attorney-at-law, is an APC executive board director and will spearhead legal and corporate governance affairs while Foster, a chartered accountant, will, as co-chairman of the Finance Commission, pilot the financial viability and fortunes of the regional body. Patterson, a corporate communications specialist, will join regional experts in delivering the brand and marketing strategies and activations of the APC and Boban will bring to the educational portfolio his knowledge and experience gained, particularly as a practitioner in rehabilitation management and prosthetics.

    The IPC, the global governing body, delivers every four years the world’s largest multi-sport para event,  the Paralympic Games, which this year will take place in Paris, France, from August 28 to September 8. The Santiago 2023 Para Panamerican Games, which was held in Chile, from November 17 to 26, witnessed the IPC’s last ownership of the games.

    Commenting on the historic role Jamaica will play Samuda said: “It is in our sporting DNA to construct, for the able with a difference, the present and future based on values in the hope that our work and that of our colleagues will birth an apex regional sporting body of probity which history will record as revolutionary and visionary.”

    Foster, advocates the imperative of a sound financial framework and base and gives a clear signal of what will be approach. “The sub-structure of any organization is crucial to the profitability of its superstructure and frugal management of expenses, innovative investment and revenue strategies as well as disciplined treasury operations are foundational to success.”

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    Games are the lifeblood of governing regional and international bodies and Foster makes the case that “APC will be to its stakeholders more than a breath of fresh air as it will represent for them the very essence and excellence of para sports.”

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    The decision clearly blindsided the International Olympic Committee, which has never awarded money for participating or winning a medal, as it believes that to compete at a Games is reward enough.

    It is the first time since the founding of the modern Games in 1896 that a gold medal will automatically come with a guaranteed monetary prize from a sport’s governing body.

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  • Alert, Barrett continue to bask in Carifta Swim Champs accomplishments; praise team effort Alert, Barrett continue to bask in Carifta Swim Champs accomplishments; praise team effort

    The 37th Carifta Swimming Championships has come and gone, but the experience of representing one's country on one of the biggest stages in the region has left an indelible mark on the younger participants, in particular, to the point where they continue to revel in their accomplishments.

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    The 27-member Jamaican team also placed fourth on the points standing with combined total of 559 points, behind host The Bahamas (1,096.50 points), who secured an unprecedented sixth-straight Carifta Swimming Championship victory. Cayman Islands (660 points), Trinidad and Tobago (639 points), and Barbados (486.50 points) were the other top five teams.

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    “I really felt like I was prepared enough to do really well, and I was excited just to put the hours of hard work on display, so I was really happy and proud hearing the National anthem after I won, knowing that all the hard work paid off,” Alert said.

    “I also felt good about my other performances because I know I tried my hardest even on the third day when I had the 200m IM, 100m breast and 50m free, I tried my hardest and succeeded so I am really grateful that I came out healthy,” she added.

    While delighted with her personal haul, Alert praised her teammates, Christanya Shirley and others, who in a consistent show of spirit and talent, also contributed significantly to Jamaica’s medal haul. That togetherness and pride she said is what swimmers count on to keep going, especially when things don’t go as expected in the pool.

    “Team Jamaica’s performances deserve tremendous commendation. After a slow start, each member of the team gave their best and everyone contributed to our total points tally. For each day of the competitions there were several personal best performances seen, so even if swimmers did not medal, they did well enough to achieve PBs and that’s enough to be proud of,” Alert reasoned.

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    “Going into the Carifta Games I was excited to not only see my teammates I haven't seen in a while, but more importantly, to perform very well. I had a lot of fun being there and also dropping a lot of times and securing personal best, and while hearing the national anthem, I was proud that I was representing my country,” Barrett shared.

    “So, I was really satisfied with my performances, I am more excited about the 400m free where I ended up dropping 11 seconds and I was really proud of how much I was able to accomplish on my first year and knowing that I have next year to do even better,” he noted.

    Barrett contested the 13-14 age group alongside, Matthew Kennedy, Kai Radcliffe and others, who also produced credible performances.

    Kennedy mined bronze in the 100m and 200m freestyle to go with his other top eight finishes, while Radcliffe, known for his breaststroke prowess, secured gold in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, and silver in the 200m breaststroke.

    Radcliffe also flirted with the 50m breaststroke national age group record of 30.94s held by Kito Campbell, with his 30.98s-clocking.

    Like Alert, Barrett, 14, pointed out that the team spirit was based on pride, passion and performance.

    “I am proud of the team's performance, and I believe every athlete should be celebrated for their effort. All the coaches who prepared the swimmers for qualification and the championship should be proud of how they performed. We all stood strong, performed strong and gave out best to achieve what we did for Jamaica,” Barrett ended.

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