The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange says the Government is rewarding $55 million to athletes, coaches, and officials who participated in the recent Summer and Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympics.

“Jamaica is joining other countries which reward those who represent them at the Olympics with honorariums,” Minister Grange said while speaking at the official launch of the 2022 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium on Monday.

“Appreciation Grants will be for those representing Jamaica at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The level of awards was determined based on individual placement, from gold medal winner to non-finalist, coaches, and other supporting staff. Ninety-three persons will be rewarded, valued at approximately $55M,” she added.

She then broke down how the money would be divided.

“The honorariums are $1.65 million for each gold medal won; $1.35 million for each silver medal won and $800,000.00 for each bronze medal won. The honorarium is $850,000 for the relay gold. Finalists are receiving $600,000.00; relay finalists, $500,000; and non-finalists, $350,000. Coaches and massage therapists are getting $350,000 while team managers and doctors are getting $200,000,” Grange explained.

 

Russia is planning to appeal against the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to ban the country's athletes from the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, according to Oleg Matytsin, the country's Minister of Sport.

The IPC confirmed the decision to bar both Russian and Belarusian Paralympians from the games on Thursday, reversing an earlier announcement that they would be able to participate as neutrals.

Russia's ban was announced just a day before the Beijing Games are scheduled to begin, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had called for such a measure in the face of international pressure and boycott threats from athletes.

Matytsin, speaking to the state-owned news agency TASS, confirmed that Russia is now working on an emergency appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We are currently working to establish our legal position to file lawsuits on the protection of our athletes' rights, against the discrimination of athletes based on their ethnicity and the use of sports as a tool of a political pressure," he said.

"Today's decision of the International Paralympic Committee to bar our team is a blatant violation of athletes' rights and a manipulation of the Olympic Charter and human lives' values in pursuit of political goals.

"It is extremely inadmissible to put in action any type of sanctions with regard to [Russia's] Paralympians, who have already arrived for the tournament.

"We are drafting a lawsuit to be considered before the Opening Ceremony and the actual start [of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games]."

The IPC's decision came one week after Russia invaded Ukraine and means that a 71-strong team of Russian Paralympians will be forced to sit out the Games, barring the success of an appeal.

Ukraine, meanwhile, will have 29 representatives in Beijing, while Russian athletes or teams have also been hit with bans by bodies such as the World Athletics Council, FIFA and UEFA, as the international sporting community attempts to apply pressure to the nation.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics following a U-turn by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The IPC announced on Wednesday that the two nations were set to compete in Beijing, albeit under the Paralympic flag and without being included in the medal table.

That was despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for athletes from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

However, just a day before the Games are due to begin, the IPC has reversed its decision amid fierce backlash and threats of boycotts.

It means 83 athletes will now no longer be able to compete in the nine-day event, including a 71-strong team from Russia.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement on Thursday: "At the IPC we are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix. However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.

"The IPC is a membership-based organisation, and we are receptive to the views of our member organisations. When our members elected the board in December 2021 it was to maintain and uphold the principles, values, and rules of the Paralympic Movement.  

"As board members that is a responsibility and duty we take extremely seriously. In taking our decision yesterday we were looking at the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement.  

"We are fiercely proud of the principles and values that have made the Movement what it is today. However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation has now put us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games."

The new announcement comes a week on from Russia invading Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for part of the advance.

A joint statement from Ukrainian athletes and the Global Athlete group condemned the IPC's original ruling on Wednesday, accusing the governing body of issuing "another blow" to every Ukrainian athlete and citizen.

Parsons explained that the situation in the athletes' village had become "untenable", leading to the surprise U-turn on the eve of the event.

"Yesterday we said we would continue to listen, and that is what we are doing," he said. "In the last 12 hours an overwhelming number of members have been in touch with us and been very open, for which I am grateful.  

"They have told us that if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Multiple NPCs, some of which have been contacted by their governments, teams and athletes, are threatening not to compete.

"Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable. 

"In order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus. 

"To the Para athletes from the impacted countries, we are very sorry that you are affected by the decisions your governments took last week in breaching the Olympic Truce. You are victims of your governments' actions. 

"Athlete welfare is and always will be a key concern for us. As a result of today's decision 83 Para athletes are directly impacted by this decision. However, if RPC and NPC Belarus remain here in Beijing then nations will likely withdraw. We will likely not have a viable Games. If this were to happen, the impact would be far wider reaching.

"I hope and pray that we can get back to a situation when the talk and focus is fully on the power of sport to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, and the best of humanity."

The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from Belarus and Russia.

Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics as neutrals, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed.

The IPC made the announcement on Wednesday, two days before the nine-day event is scheduled to officially begin in Beijing.

While competitors from Russia and Belarus have been cleared to take part in the global showpiece, they must compete under the Paralympic flag and will not be included in the medal table.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement: "The IPC and wider Paralympic Movement is greatly concerned by the gross violation of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarusian governments in the days prior to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. 

"The IPC Governing Board is united in its condemnation of these actions and was in agreement that they cannot go unnoticed or unaddressed.

"In deciding what actions the IPC should take, it was fundamental that we worked within the framework of our new constitution to remain politically neutral and within the IPC Handbook, the rules and regulations that govern the Paralympic Movement. 

"Such neutrality is firmly anchored in the genuine belief that sport holds the transformative power to overcome our shortcomings and summon from within us the best of our humanity, especially in the darkest of moments.

"What we have decided upon is the harshest possible punishment we can hand down within our constitution and the current IPC rules."

The announcement comes six days on from Russian president Vladimir Putin ordering an invasion of Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for Russian military.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week called for athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

In a statement issued on Monday, the IOC's executive board accused the governments of Russia and Belarus of a "breach of the Olympic Truce" following the attack on Ukraine.

Referencing that statement, Parsons declared further sanctions may follow, with the IPC confirming members will be invited to decide whether to suspend or terminate the membership of the two nations.

"Post-Beijing 2022, we will also take measures with our 206 member organisations to determine whether any breaches of the Olympic Truce for future Paralympic Games could lead to the possible suspension or termination of an NPC [National Paralympic Committee]," he said.

"It is deeply disappointing that such action is required. However, the IPC Governing Board believes it to be necessary in order to hold governments to account for actions that impact directly on the Paralympic Movement, the Paralympic Games and Paralympic athletes. 

"This is especially so given the origins of the Paralympic Movement, arising out of the horrific events of the Second World War.

"Now that this decision has been made, I expect all participating NPCs to treat the neutral athletes as they would any other athletes at these Games, no matter how difficult this may be. 

"Unlike their respective governments, these Paralympic athletes and officials are not the aggressors, they are here to compete in a sport event like everybody else.

"The eyes of the world will be watching the Paralympic Winter Games in the coming days.  It is vital we show to world leaders through our sport that we can unite as human beings and that our true power is found when promoting peace, understanding and inclusion. 

"This is at the core of what the Paralympic Movement does and what it stands for. We should not lose sight of this now, no matter what the circumstances."

The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from the eastern European countries.

The National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine has confirmed that a 29-strong team will represent their country at the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Beijing, despite Russia's invasion of their homeland.

Russia launched an assault on Ukraine late last week, leading to a strong backlash from the international sporting community.

After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemned Russia's breach of the Olympic Truce, which remains in place until after the end of the Winter Paralympics, Ukrainian athletes penned an open letter to the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to call for the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the Winter Games, telling the governing bodies; "your legacy will be defined by your actions."

While the IPC is due to make a decision on Russian and Belarusian participation on Wednesday, Ukrainian Paralympians have moved to confirm that they are departing for the games from undisclosed locations, to compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing events.

"Part of the team is in one place, part is in another," a spokesperson told Public Sports.

"I hope that today we will unite and get to the airport and go to Beijing together. The team is not in Ukraine.

"We will not tell where we are. When we come to Beijing, we will tell. I hope that tomorrow, March 2, we will be in Beijing.

"The team is going [in] full as we planned."

Later that afternoon, a tweet from the official account of the Paralympic Games displayed the Ukrainian athletes prior to their departure for China. 

Ukrainian athletes have signed an open letter addressed to the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees calling for the immediate suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the Winter Paralympics.

After weeks of rising political tensions, Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday, with the conflict escalating further over the weekend.

Russia's actions have been widely condemned, and several leading athletes have demanded their entry into the 2022 Beijing Games be blocked.

A letter published by Global Athlete read: "We write to you today on behalf of Ukrainian Athletes to call on you in your leadership capacity of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to immediately suspend the Russian and Belarusian National Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

"Any suspension must also include the banning of all athletes from international sport, including the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games.

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, is a clear breach of the Olympic and Paralympic Charters – a breach that must be met with strong sanctions.

"If the IOC and IPC refuse to take swift action, you are clearly emboldening [this] violation of international law and your own Charters.

"Your lack of action will send a message to every athlete and the world that you have chosen Russia and Belarus over athlete interests. Your legacy will be defined by your actions."

The IOC this week condemned Russia's breach of the Olympic Truce, which remains in place until a week after the end of the Paralympic Games.

The Paralympics will take place between March 4 and March 13.

The International Olympic Committee has called on international sporting federations to relocate or cancel any events set to take place in Russia or Belarus.

After weeks of rising political tensions, Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday, with the conflict escalating further on Friday.

Russia's invasion has been widely condemned by governments, world leaders and sporting bodies.

UEFA has moved this season's Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris, while Formula One has removed the Russian Grand Prix from its race schedule for this year.

On Thursday, the IOC condemned Russia for breaking the Olympic Truce and on Friday, the governing body urged sporting federations around the world to reconsider the hosting of any events in Russia or neighbouring Belarus, which has helped facilitate the Ukraine invasion.

It has also called for the Belarusian and Russian flags and national anthems not to be displayed or played at any sporting events.

"The IOC EB [executive board] today urges all International sports federations to relocate or cancel their sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus," a statement read.

"They should take the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarusian governments into account and give the safety and security of the athletes absolute priority. The IOC itself has no events planned in Russia or Belarus.

"In addition, the IOC EB urges that no Russian or Belarusian national flag be displayed and no Russian or Belarussian anthem be played in international sports events which are not already part of the respective World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions for Russia.

"At the same time, the IOC EB expresses its full support to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

"The IOC EB expresses its deep concerns about the safety of the members of the Olympic Community in Ukraine and stands in full solidarity. It notes that the special IOC task force is in contact with the Olympic Community in the country to coordinate humanitarian assistance where possible."

In what has been described as a historic partnership, the Jamaica Paralympic Association and the Jamaica Surfing Federation have joined forces to help para-athletes make the transition to surfing with the hope that the island will be able to qualify surfers to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

And, so far things seem to be going well. Two para-athletes, Nathaniel Bailey and Toto Campbell, are in California competing at the 2021 Pismo Beach ISA World Para Surfing Championship, and demonstrating that despite only taking up the sport less than two months ago, that they possess natural talent as both have qualified for the second round of the competition.

"History has been made through a dynamic partnership of two sporting associations that are both committed to developing talent, encouraging excellence and making more capable those who society perceive to have challenges,” said proud JOA President Christopher Samuda.

During the past three years, the Jamaica Paralympic Association has been aggressively engaging with several ‘non-traditional sports’ while pursuing its policy of "creating opportunities and building capacity."

Having successfully already helped propel para-taekwondo and para-judo to the pinnacle of para-sports - the Paralympic Games - President Samuda is optimistic about the future.

"Our model is self-motivating and self-inspiring but we believe strongly in solid partnerships that will drive success and thanks to Billy Wilmot, President of the Jamaica Surfing Federation, and Icah Wilmot, a regional household name in the sport, we are transitioning talented surfers who hopefully will attain the coveted distinction of becoming Paralympians in Paris," he said.

With that in mind, early next year, the Jamaica Paralympic Association will be launching its campaign dubbed "Go for Paris" aimed at achieving qualification and to be competitive in at least five sports at the games in the French capital.

Team USA won a stunning Paralympics men's wheelchair basketball gold medal on the final day of Tokyo 2020, providing a sting in the tail to the tournament's "Cinderella story".

Steve Serio scored 28 points and added nine assists as the United States beat hosts Japan 64-60 at the Ariake Arena, overcoming a 56-51 deficit with a large surge.

It was an agonising end to a stunning run from Japan, who had beaten Australia and Great Britain on the way to the final, their first at Paralympics level.

For the Americans, it means they have won men's wheelchair basketball gold medals at seven editions of the Paralympics.

Serio said: "Japan was the Cinderella story of this tournament, but you couldn't ask for a more storybook ending for us. We didn't get the start we wanted, but we definitely got the finish we wanted."

Japan's silver was their first medal in men's wheelchair basketball, with Hiroaki Kozai leading them with 18 points and Renshi Chokai adding eight points and a remarkable 18 rebounds.

Matt Scott, part of that triumphant basketball team, then carried the US flag at the closing ceremony, as Tokyo's tenure as hosts of the Olympics and Paralympics came to an end.

Amid the strain of staging a global event during the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan pulled off the feat and handed the baton to Paris for the 2024 Games, signing off with a ceremony that was highlighted by nods to karaoke and video game culture and included a moving rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic What A Wonderful World.

China finished top of the medals table, with 96 golds in a total of 207 medals, with Great Britain second with 41 golds among 124 medals, and the USA third, landing 37 golds and 104 medals in all.

Hosts Japan ranked 11th, with 13 gold medals, 15 silver and 23 bronze, for a total of 51 medals.

Sarah Storey said it was "truly amazing" to land a 17th gold medal as the cycling star became Britain's most decorated Paralympic athlete of all time.

The 43-year-old beat the haul of Mike Kenny, who won 16 golds in swimming between 1976 and 1988, by powering to victory on Thursday in the C4-5 road race.

Storey's latest Tokyo 2020 triumph followed her individual pursuit track success and time trial win, with the Manchester-born veteran leading a British one-two as Crystal Lane-Wright took silver.

Storey began her Paralympic Games career in 1992 at Barcelona, when she competed in swimming and bagged her first two golds.

After a stunning transition to cycling following Athens 2004, Storey has not looked back, adding 12 gold medals to the five she won previously in the pool.

Storey has been competing in her eighth Paralympics this year in Japan and said she "couldn't have imagined" enjoying such longevity and rich reward coming her way.

"It's the dream I didn't think would come true," Storey said. "I just wanted to be a British athlete, I wanted to compete for my country for as long as I possibly could, and to still be going strong in Games number eight is truly amazing.

"I never felt a weight on my shoulders. You're defending a title and it's added to a tally afterwards. I've never really felt that pressure to be overwhelming before a race. It's just each race as it comes."

She added, according to Paralympics GB: "It is the sweetest feeling to know that I go back to my room and there are a couple of gold medals in the safe to put this one with. That makes that tally very real then."

Germany's Kerstin Brachtendorf, 49, had made a bold breakaway that saw her move over a minute clear at one point; however, she was reeled in and eventually finished fifth, with Storey crossing the line seven seconds ahead of Lane-Wright.

Storey could yet target Paris 2024, having declared Tokyo will not necessarily mark the end of her Paralympics career, but Lane-Wright has reached the end of this particular road.

"Right now, I never want to look at a bike again," Lane-Wright said. "When we came up the climb I told myself, 'last time I ever have to do this'.

"When Sarah and I got away, I told her it was her gold medal. I said, 'You don't have to worry, I'm not even going to attempt to take it away from you'.

"There are times when I think, 'What would Sarah do?'. She inspires me that much."

Afghan athletes Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli arrived at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Village on Saturday after being evacuated from their homeland.

Khudadadi and Rasou had initially been unable to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took control, but the pair managed to board a plane last weekend.

They spent the week at the National Institute of Sport Expertise and Performance in Paris prior to flying to the Japanese capital on Friday.

Khudadadi will become the first female athlete to represent Afghanistan at the Paralympics since the Athens 2004 Games when she competes in the K44 -49kg weight category in taekwondo next Thursday.

Rasouli was due to participate in the men's 100 metres T47 on Saturday, but will instead take his place in the heats of the 400m T47 athletics event next Friday.

International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons said: "Twelve days ago we were informed that the Afghan Paralympic Team could not travel to Tokyo, a move that broke the hearts of all involved in the Paralympic Movement and left both athletes devastated. 

"That announcement kickstarted a major global operation that led to their safe evacuation from Afghanistan, their recuperation by France, and now their safe arrival in Tokyo.

"We always knew there was a remote chance both athletes could participate at Tokyo 2020 which is why the Afghan flag was paraded at Tuesday's Opening Ceremony. Like all the athletes here at Tokyo 2020, we never gave up hope and to now have Zakia and Hossain in the Paralympic Village alongside 4,403 other Paralympians shows the remarkable power of sport to bring people together in peace.

"Our number one priority has and always will be the health and well-being of both athletes.  Over the last 12 days, Zakia and Hossain have continued to express their absolute desire to come and compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

"Thanks to the outstanding efforts of several Governments, the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, Human Rights for All, the French Paralympic Committee, the British Paralympic Association, World Taekwondo, Zakia and Hossain are now in Tokyo to fulfil their dreams, sending out a strong message of hope to many others around the world.

"We will continue to work closely with Zakia, Hossain and the team’s Chef de Mission to ensure they receive all the care and support they need both during and after the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games."

Neil Fachie and wife Lora claimed cycling golds within just over a quarter of an hour for Team GB at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Neil and pilot Matt Rotherham posted a world-record time of 58.038 seconds – smashing their previous record time – as they beat team-mates James Ball and Lewis Stewart to gold in the B 1,000m time trial.

Lora followed suit shortly afterwards; her and Corrine Hall set their own world record on the way to go retaining the B 3,000 pursuit title.

"There are days that are good in the relationship and there are days like today which we'll never forget," Neil told BBC Breakfast.

"We knew this day would be our big one. Finally, we've managed to both do it together, and to both break the world record as well is beyond our dreams.

"We hoped this would happen, but for it to actually come together is mind-blowing."

Afghan Paralympic athletes Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli are in a "safe place" after being evacuated from their homeland.

The two Para-taekwondo athletes were due to represent their country in the Tokyo Games, but could not leave Afghanistan after the Taliban took control.

Khudadadi and Rasouli were among thousands trying to flee their country, so the Afghan flag was carried by a volunteer at Tuesday's opening ceremony in the Japanese capital.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Wednesday confirmed the two athletes had left Afghanistan.

"Efforts have been made to remove them from Afghanistan, they are now in a safe place," IPC spokesman Craig Spence said during a news conference.

"I'm not going to tell you where they are because this isn't about sport, this is about human life and keeping people safe.

"Obviously they've been through a very traumatic process, they're undergoing counselling and psychological help.

"We are being kept in the loop about their whereabouts and their well-being."

Australian cyclist Paige Greco won the first gold medal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in style on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old claimed the 3,000metres individual pursuit title at the Izu Velodrome in a world record time of three minutes, 50.815 seconds.

Wang Xiaomei of China won silver and Germany's Denise Schindler took bronze as Greco stole the show.

Greco said: "It means so much. When I think about all the people that helped me get here, the staff and all my friends and family, it's amazing. I owe it all to them.

"It feels amazing. I still can't believe it. I keep looking down and seeing [the gold medal]. It's not really sunk in yet."

Grego competed in athletics at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and only made her para-cycling debut two years ago.

She will also go for gold in the C1-3 time trial on August 31 before competing in the C1-3 road race four days later.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed no spectators will be allowed to attend events at the upcoming Games in Tokyo.

Japan is still in a state of emergency as it battles with a spike in coronavirus cases and the recent Olympic Games were held mostly behind closed doors as a result.

Similarly, the Paralympians competing in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Shizuoka will not have the backing of the crowd when the Games start on August 24.

The IPC, along with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), and the Government of Japan, held a remote meeting on Monday to determine if spectators would be allowed to attend.

"We very much regret that this situation has impacted the Paralympic Games," the Games' organisers said in a statement.

"We sincerely apologise to all ticket buyers who were looking forward to watching the Games at the venues.

"We hope that you understand that these measures are unavoidable and being implemented in order to prevent the spread of infection. Everyone is encouraged to watch the Games at home."

 

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