In a bid to unearth potential curling talents for Jamaica's international representation, Vice President of Curling Jamaica, Robert Richards, outlined three key avenues during the launch of Curling Jamaica at the Jamaica Olympic Association's headquarters in Kingston.

A former president of the Jamaica Badminton Association and national badminton champion, Richards expressed his commitment to Curling Jamaica's mission, especially with President Ian Anderson's ambitious goal of securing Olympic gold by 2040. Speaking at the launch on Monday, Richards emphasized the three areas from which they aim to identify and develop curling talents.

"The development of this sport is going to come from, of course, those based overseas, and there are three avenues that we're going to take on to actually have the sport developed," said Richards. The first avenue involves Jamaicans based overseas, particularly those waiting for an opportunity or currently participating in another sport. Richards sees potential among young Jamaicans in colleges, not only in Canada and the US but also in Europe.

The second avenue focuses on students leaving Jamaica to study abroad. Traditionally, sports like football and track and field have been the primary choices, but with the establishment of the Curling Association, students now have an additional option. This diversification allows talented youngsters to explore new avenues and consider curling as a viable sporting path.

The third avenue involves collaboration with the Canadian team to identify potential curling talents in Jamaican schools. The vision includes sponsoring selected youngsters to attend the Curling Academy in Canada, covering their accommodation and training expenses. This initiative aims to nurture talent from an early age and potentially pave the way for scholarships and further opportunities in the sport.

Earlier, JOA Secretary General and CEO Ryan Foster welcomed Curling Jamaica to the Olympic family during the launch.

Foster highlighted the significance of Jamaica's expansion into winter sports, citing the growth in disciplines like skiing, ice hockey, figure skating, and now curling. He commended Curling Jamaica for contributing to the country's multiplicity of representation in the Winter Olympics, opening avenues for potential medals.

Foster assured Curling Jamaica of the Jamaica Olympic Association's support in fostering a holistic approach to sports governance, including educational perspectives, coaching development, equipment resources, and infrastructure support. He expressed pride in the association's open-minded approach to sports, expanding from 36 to 52 sporting disciplines.

In closing, Foster welcomed Curling Jamaica to the Jamaica Olympic family, expressing hope that the organization would manage the sport with enthusiasm, providing hope to athletes and embodying the national motto, "Out of Many, One People." He pledged the JOA's unwavering support in Curling Jamaica's quest for achievement, emphasizing the shared commitment to success in the Winter Olympics.

In yet another display of well-needed support, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) once again demonstrated its commitment to sports development by stepping in to rescue the Jamaica Surfing Association, ensuring the nation's surfers can ride the waves at the upcoming World Championship in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Responding to the urgent plea from the Jamaica Surfing Association, citing the non-materialization of promised funding from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), the JOA not only fulfilled its initial commitment of a JMD$800,000 cash injection but has gone above and beyond by providing an additional JMD$400,000.

This generous intervention bridges the financial gap, empowering the aspiring surfers to compete at the  World Championship scheduled from February 23 to March 3, 2024.

Icah Wilmot, President of the Jamaica Surfing Association and an internationally certified coach, expressed heartfelt gratitude, stating, "Thank you so much JOA for the support and assistance. You are life savers, and now we are heading to the competition to put our best foot forward, representing the nation with our eyes on the ultimate prize of spots at the 2024 Olympic Games."

Surfing has been gaining momentum locally in recent years, showcasing its Olympic and Paralympic credentials, capturing the attention and support of the JOA.

JOA President Christopher Samuda shared an optimistic outlook, stating, "Gale force winds blew, torrential rains there were; but the storm is over now, and light and liberty are on the horizon."

Meanwhile, JOA Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster, expressed the association’s continued support, saying, "Not even a tsunami could prevent us from giving our accomplished surfing ambassadors the opportunity to rule the waves."

With several sports now in the process of qualifying for the Paris Olympic Games, the JOA's timely intervention exemplifies its dedication to fostering excellence in sports, ensuring that athletes across diverse disciplines have the opportunity to shine on the global stage.

 

 

 

 

 

The rhythmic beat of excitement echoes through the corridors of anticipation as the 2024 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, better known as "CHAMPS," approaches the island of Jamaica. In a groundbreaking move, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and PUMA are set to turn this prestigious event into an Olympic fashion extravaganza, showcasing the bespoke apparel designs tailored exclusively for the Jamaican Olympic team at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

The announcement is met with palpable enthusiasm from JOA President, Christopher Samuda, who can't hide his delight, "The designs meet our approval, and their display will be an innovation bringing Olympism into the arena, reminding inspired youth that wearing the black, gold, and green is genetic, shaping character and tailoring personal aspirations, sewing seeds of success."

A sense of historical significance hangs in the air as the national stadium, once again, prepares to take center stage. JOA Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster, eloquently expresses the symbolic nature of the venue, "The national stadium will once more be a focal point for Olympism, a landmark from which sportsmen and women have been catapulted into being Olympic champions and global personalities, becoming an inspiration to generations of youth."

The JOA/PUMA partnership is lauded for its creative fusion of sports and fashion. President Samuda emphasizes the deeper meaning of national sportswear, stating, "This activation by PUMA underscores that national sportswear should be an experience and an honor that goes beyond what you wear to being how you wear it, contributing to a country’s sporting legacy – and that’s Olympism."

Fashion, as articulated by JOA Secretary General/CEO Foster, is not merely a reflection of the times but a profound expression of identity. "National apparel re-defines the past, defines the present, and shapes the future of a people." He highlights the distinction between ready-to-wear and custom-built, noting that the latter is driven by a 'fit to size' and bespoke value, characterizing the present and stylizing the future.

As the days count down, the buzz around the event intensifies. Jamaicans eagerly anticipate a taste of Paris, as Olympic sportswear is set to grace Independence Park. Inspired by the remarkable performances of Jamaican Olympians throughout history, the showcase promises to be a vivid celebration of the nation's sporting legacy.

PUMA's continuing commitment to the Jamaican Olympic movement is evident, with this display of Jamaican sport haute couture being hailed as "the dress rehearsal of greater things to come" by President Samuda. The stage is set for a truly groundbreaking moment at CHAMPS, where the collision of athleticism and high fashion will create an unforgettable spectacle, etching a lasting impression on the hearts of spectators and athletes alike.

 

It will be an Olympic Games in Paris and an Independence Day in Jamaica to remember as the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and PUMA International join forces to bring to a global citizenry an experience in friendship and mutuality in sport and a cultural expose of Jamaica’s culture.

The JOA and PUMA will be partnering to celebrate Jamaica’s independence in Paris on August 6 and JOA Day on August 7 in the historic capital of France which is known universally for its avant-garde and exquisite taste for cuisine and art.

But for those days Jamaica’s culture in sport, music and food  and Olympism will be  spotlighted and take pride of place in a glorious display for Jamaica’s golden sporting champions and ambassadors, Jamaican fans, patriots resident in France, the worldwide Olympic officialdom, international personalities in sport and entertainment and athletes across the Olympic spectrum.

President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, in commenting on this historic and landmark partnership said, “We, the JOA and PUMA, are innovators in sport as we are constantly revolutionizing its ethos in giving capital and currency to stakeholders in building an inspiring world view of sport and in articulating a universal language of hope. It will be a Jamaican reggae yard experience in PUMA’s house, a home away from home sporting experience for many and a household name and legacy in the annals of Olympic history.”

This activation was inevitable as the messages of the JOA and PUMA converge in sporting values and prowess which are defining of their brands and way of life. JOA Secretary General and CEO, Ryan Foster, is an advocate of this and makes it clear that “August 6 and 7 will be the destinations in Paris for all roads will lead to Jamrock in PUMA’s house where food, music and our vibes will imprint values on the sporting landscape and leave lasting footprints.”

If there is any doubt as to the JOA’s perspective, Secretary General Foster provides certainty. “Globalizing brand Jamaica, internationalizing brand JOA and personalising sport remain a primary focus and mandate  and ‘JaParis’ our Olympic manor, will be iconic,” he said.

Central to the JOA’s domestic outlook and foreign policy are the athletes of its member associations and federations who President Samuda says “define what we do, how we do it and when we do it and the 2024 JOA PUMA French connection will be a blockbuster.”

In a few days shy of six months, members of the sporting fraternity will, in Paris, savour the best of the city courtesy of the JOA and PUMA.

The Jamaica Ski Federation (JSF) aims to transform qualification into medals in competition at global sporting championships. What was once a novelty for the sunny isle of Jamaica has now become a regular occurrence with Jamaican athletes and teams lining up on start lists for the world’s biggest events on ice.

That growing trend has seen Jamaica glide into the ongoing Winter Youth Olympic Games, dubbed ‘Gangwon 2024, in South Korea, with Henri Rivers IV and his twin sister Henniyah providing first-time individual representation in Alpine skiing.

Acknowledging their growing influence, secretary general of the JSF, Ryan Foster, says they are pleased with their historic qualification and will advance the preparation of its athletes for Olympic Games, with the ultimate goal to secure podium spots.

“The Jamaica Ski Federation is excited about this new chapter in Jamaica’s journey into Winter Olympic sports. We had success in Winter Olympics with Benjamin Alexander’s qualification and now having two qualifiers in the Youth Winter Olympics,” he observed.

“This is historic and we will be ramping up our efforts to qualify more athletes for the sport. Our aim is to learn and grow from each chapter to ultimately seeking to medal in the sport. Sport is a business and the novelty of just qualifying has worn out and we need to provide avenues and opportunities for our athletes to medal,” Foster stated.

“The Jamaica Ski Federation has many plans in place to include our coaching programme, increased participation in competitions, as well as the purchasing of equipment to compete at an international level,” he announced.

Henri IV and Henniyah are actually two-thirds of a triplet of skiers, which is completed by Helaina. Their parents, Henri and Karen, are both ski instructors and coaches who the 16-year-olds say have taught them well.

The senior Henri, of the family who lives in Brooklyn, New York, has been instrumental in the development of skiing talent among black athletes and was president of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, the largest African American ski council in the world, with over 50 clubs in the United States and United Kingdom.

The twins qualified to represent Jamaica through their Jamaican-born mom Karen and shared that they are happy to have connected to their roots in this way.

“I thank the Jamaica Ski Federation and the Jamaica Olympic Association for allowing me to represent Jamaica on a global scale. This trip means a lot to me in so many ways; being able to compete against other athletes and nations from all over the world, and to see the excitement on their faces when they receive a Jamaican pin. It’s like getting a golden ticket to go to the chocolate factory,” Henri IV lit up. “I didn't understand it, but I became eager to be a part of their excitement.

“But the most important thing to me is the fact that I’m able to race at a high level representing Jamaica, a place that doesn't have snow,” continued Henri IV, who has a world ranking of 34.

“My goal is to perform at my best and to hopefully inspire the next generation of young Jamaican snow sports athletes.”

Henniyah was just as appreciative, bubbling at the opportunity to represent Jamaica.

“I am very excited to be here in Gangwon, Korea, experiencing and competing in the 2024 Youth Olympic Games. I appreciate and thank the Jamaica Ski Federation and the Jamaica Olympic Association for giving me this opportunity,” she admitted.

“I’m fortunate alpine skiing has given me the potential to represent my mother’s homeland. I am thrilled to ski here this week, I’m excited to perform and do what I love, and I am truly excited to embrace Jamaica through winter sports,” Henniyah, ranked 39th, continued. “I will never forget this extraordinary experience and this journey helps me connect with my heritage.”

Foster, in the meantime, remains positive, yet inspired by the national skiing federation’s prospects.

“The Rivers triplets are trendsetters and we will be pushing to expand from here,” he said. “Jamaica is now a force to be reckoned with in Winter Sports."

The Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) has secured $3 million in funding from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) to assist in their budget of $38 million to get the senior men’s team to an historic Hockey 5s World Cup debut in Muscat, Oman from January 28-31, 2024.

Hockey 5s is a super-fast-paced and highly skillful game played between two teams with four field players and a goalkeeper. The field size is much smaller than the 11-a-side with a
measurement of 40m x 23.7m with surrounding deflective boards that always keep the ball in play.

It’s a more competitive format of hockey, first played in 2014 and quickly adapted worldwide as the FIH searched for a shorter more entertaining version of the game. Just like netball Fast5, Rugby7s, or Twenty20 cricket.

Ryan Foster, the JOA's Chief Executive Officer, said the contribution was a no-brainer. 

"The JOA is extremely proud of the accomplishments of JHF and the men's Hockey 5s team qualification for the World Cup. This is the manifestation of various investments of the JOA since 2017 which amounts to over $25M. This additional $3M given to the JHF is yet another contribution by the JOA in our Sport for All Concept. We measure success not only on medals won, but upon progress made by our member associations," Foster said.

"Any other thought would be narrowed minded. We wish President [Fabian] Stewart and his team all the best in the competition, and it is a win for sport in Jamaica that we can be a part of the discussion in yet another World Cup, albeit for Hockey. Our ability to support so many sports is a testament of our expansive corporate sponsor pool, which has expanded to over $200M in new funds since 2018. Corporate Jamaica has responded, and we continue to engage with a transparent approach that involves accountability and bank for the buck," he added.

 

Jamaica's men are scheduled to face teams of the highest rank such as Netherlands (#1), India (#3) and more on their much-anticipated debut appearance at the World Cup.

The Men’s competition has a total of 16 countries including Jamaica. Pool B consist of Jamaica, Egypt, Switzerland, and India. The first match will be against Egypt and if its anything like their bronze medal win in the qualifiers, then this match promises to be an exciting one.

 In a splendid affair at the luxurious Marriott Hotel in Aventura, the Pan American Sport Organization (PASO) held its Gala Awards Ceremony recently, hosting a distinguished guest and 400m hurdles gold medalist, Jaheel Hyde, who was celebrated for his remarkable achievement at the 2023 Pan American Games.

The event became more than a gala; it transformed into a Wolmerian reunion, bringing together Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda, and JOA Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster, both maroon and gold alumni and esteemed PASO commission members.

The reunion was elevated with the presence of Jaheel Hyde, a Wolmer's Boys' School alumnus, whose stellar performance on the international stage earned him the prestigious 400m hurdles gold.

Jaheel Hyde, adorned with numerous gold medals from his junior endeavors and the 2022 Commonwealth Games silver in Birmingham, now sets his sights on the grandest stage of all—the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The gala served as a moment of recognition for Hyde's historic achievement, marking his first gold at the senior level in international competition.

As Hyde basks in the glory of his Pan Am Games triumph, the journey continues, with the Paris Olympics looming on the horizon. Eager to add another illustrious chapter to his sporting journey, Hyde prepares to face formidable competitors, aspiring to clinch the coveted gold medal and etch his name in the annals of sporting history.

 

In a historic and heartwarming gesture, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) announced today, Monday, August 28, that they will be rewarding the stellar achievements of Jamaica's netball players with JMD$1 million each (about USD$6000) for their triumphant performance at the Netball World Cup, where they clinched the bronze medal.

The JOA's rewarding initiative encompasses a comprehensive approach, aiming to not only honor the team's success but also contribute to their future financial stability. Each player from the bronze medal-winning team will receive JMD$1 million from a joint reward from Supreme Ventures Limited and Mayberry Investments.

The JMD$13 million in rewards will go towards funding investment accounts at Mayberry Investments for each medallist. The funds will be under management at Mayberry Investments for a period of three years or until the athlete's retirement from netball, whichever comes earlier.

The announcement, made at the JOA headquarters on Cunningham Avenue in Kingston on Monday, August 28, marks a momentous occasion as the JOA has never before rewarded a team and their coach for their exceptional performances. Following the Tokyo Olympics, the JOA had rewarded the track and field athletes a total of JMD$45 million.

This unprecedented decision is a testament to the remarkable journey and victories of the Jamaican netball team. Over the years, they have showcased their prowess, securing victories like the CAC gold, which ultimately culminated in their monumental success at the Netball World Cup.

Ryan Foster, General Secretary of the JOA, expressed the significance of this moment and the association's pride in the team's accomplishments:

"Today, the Jamaica Olympic Association celebrates and acknowledges your achievements on the court but we also want to reward them. We have watched with pride over the years of the success and progress made by our Sunshine Girls and are elated that we have been a part of that journey along with our partners SVL and Mayberry."

Foster recounted the dedication of the team and the vital role that the JOA, along with its partners, played in supporting the sport's resurgence after the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:

"I remember when President (Tricia) Robinson came to us seeking ways to restart the sport after COVID and the most important goal was to get the Elite League and the National League going, and the JOA along with SVL and Marathon have invested over JMD$9 million in the restart of the Netball leagues."

Highlighting the team's historic accomplishments, Mr. Foster emphasized that the bronze medal at the World Cup was the perfect culmination of their remarkable journey:

"Following upon the Commonwealth Games, Caribbean Games, and CAC, all historic performances, it was only fitting that the icing on the cake was the World Cup. The JOA and our partners salutes you and your contribution to Jamaican pride, sports prowess, and generally being great ambassadors of not only yourselves but also of the JOA and our partners."

Acknowledging the pivotal role of Coach Connie Francis, Mr. Foster announced a reward of JMD$2 million for her extraordinary leadership.

"For the signal work done by Coach Connie Francis, the JOA will reward the coach extraordinaire with an amount of $2 million," Foster said.

Recognizing the strength of their netball family, the JOA extended a helping hand to Latanya, contributing $1M towards her recovery. Wilson recently lost her home and all her personal belongings including her trophies and medals when arsonists set her home on fire.

"It is in times of distress and crisis that we see the heart of our family, and Latanya, you are family. With that said, the JOA will contribute JMD$1 million towards your road to recovery."

As the JOA, SVL, and Mayberry unite to celebrate the achievements of the Sunshine Girls, Foster assured that the journey is far from over, with the promise of continuous collaboration and support.

"Life is what you make it. Journeys are made to be explored and memories last a lifetime. Your memorable accomplishments have warmed our hearts, and similarly, when you were to restart the sport, we will continue the journey hand in hand, a marriage that won’t be broken."

Foster extended gratitude to SVL and Mayberry for their partnership and dedication to the athletes' success, foreshadowing further exciting announcements as the journey towards the Olympic year continues.

 

The Jamaica Olympic Association has lavished praise on the country’s netball team that won the bronze medal at the just-concluded Netball World Cup in South Africa. After losing their semi-final 57-54 to eventual champions on Saturday, the Sunshine Girls rebounded on Sunday to defeat prior champions New Zealand 52-45 to secure the bronze medal, their first at the championships in 16 years.

According to the JOA, the Sunshine Girls quest for gold at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, which had been the home of the Netball World Cup for the couple of weeks,  ended with a well-deserved bronze. But their heroic journey remains imprinted in the sporting landscape and hearts of many and foremost the apex local body.

“Gold was not the medal but golden was the achievement, golden is the future of the sport and golden will be the legacy,” said Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Foster.

“The JOA is reveling in the sunshine as we celebrate the commitment, courage, purpose and professionalism of our girls who continue steadfastly to keep their appointment with destiny.”

The hour will come when the world will acknowledge the Sunshine Girls as its champion in netball and the hope is “that the cup will, in the near future, come home to Jamrock where it will become the cornerstone of the ambitions of young girls in the sport and the foundation of Jamaica’s dominance on the global stage,” Secretary General Foster further commented.

The JOA is of the view that netball has earned a right locally to be a flagship sport and with the accomplishment in Cape Town and the historic gold medal in the recent inaugural tournament at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador, it has nothing more to prove.

“Netball’s credentials are well established and its pedigree as a leading sport is not up for debate for as we say ‘argument done,” JOA President Christopher Samuda stated.

“The Tricia Robinson-led netball administration and national coach, Connie Francis, can be justly proud of the sport’s achievements which continue to gain the applause of a global audience. The future continues to be bright and secure in safe hands.”

 The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has showered praise of Jamaica’s Senior Women Football team that historically qualified for the round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in South Africa on Wednesday.

After holding France, ranked in the top five in the world, to a 0-0 in their opening match and defeating Panama 1-0, Jamaica only needed a draw from the much-vaunted, top-10 ranked Brazil on Wednesday to secure a place in the knock-out round of the global tournament. Prior to Wednesday, no Caribbean team has ever managed to advance from the group stage of the competition.

However, after another steely, disciplined performance in which they held the South American giant to a 0-0 draw, the Reggae Girls achieved another historic milestone.

The JOA’s executive was impressed with the monumental achievement.

“Feats are there to be achieved and the Reggae Girlz continue to demonstrate a capacity and an ability to do so by claiming a space in the round of sixteen at FIFA’s Women’s World Cup,” the JOA said in a statement following the match that saw Jamaica finish as the runner-up to France in Group F.

JOA President Christopher Samuda was effusive in his praise stating, “History is indelibly at their feet, the present secured in the palm of their hands and the future in the vision of young girls who are dreaming the possible.

“The Reggae Girlz are authoring a script in football which is inspiring a nation to aspire where it was thought dreams only resided. The reality is that we can and they have done it. The Jamaica Olympic Association salutes them and looks forward to sharing the Olympic dream that will become a reality in Paris 2024.”

JOA Secretary General Ryan Foster was equally emphatic in his characterization of the performance that had an entire nation beaming with pride.

“The horizon is now clearly in sight and well within the reach of the Reggae Girlz and the Jamaica Olympic Association stands with watchful eyes in the hope that history again will be created and a nation’s pride will overflow for this is a moment that we hope will become a life-long story,” Foster declared.

Brazil, the pride of world football, was the casualty and sport historians will record that it was at the instance of Jamaica. This historic fact has not escaped President Samuda. “Brazil fell at the feet of the Reggae Girlz who now are the giants of history and visionaries of the future,” the JOA president beamed.

Jamaican judokas delivered outstanding performances in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, to qualify for the upcoming 2023 Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

Olympian Ashley McKenzie won all four of his fights the 60kg category, defeating Moises Rosado of Mexico in the final.

“I hope that winning here today sets the team in the right direction,” he said.

“I am pleased as we won our medals as a team. I am also happy with the gold as it’s my first competition back for a long time and just wanted to show what I was capable of.”

Meanwhile, Tom Davis, the 2019 Commonwealth Judo Championship gold medallist fighting in the 100kg class, defeated Alexis Esquivel of Mexico before narrowly losing to Antonio Rodriguez of Venezuela in the semi-final.

He would rebound to defeat Alexander Strachan of Bahamas to claim the bronze medal.

In the plus 100kg category, Steven Moore defeated Juan Landazuri of Colombia and then overcame Marvin Salazar of Nicaragua in the semi-final. Facing current world champion Andy Granda of Cuba in the final, Moore came up short but walked away with the silver medal.

Max Stewart, a new member of the team lost in extra time tot 2018 world silver medallist Ivan Silva of Cuba leaving him to settle for repechage. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, overpowering Derick Burgos of the Dominican Republic before going on to defeat Carlos Perez of Venezuela to win the bronze medal.

“It was great to be back on the mat again after a long-term injury. Regardless of the result, it was an amazing feeling having the team behind me every step of the way and I’m excited for my future as a Jamaican judoka,” he said afterwards.

Tokyo 2020 Olympian Ebony Drysdale-Daley also showcased her talent in the 70kg category.

She defeated Karen Murillo of Colombia before facing Creymarlin Valdez of the Dominican Republic in the quarter-final. The Jamaican judoka stunned her Dominican opponent with a left sided koshi-guruma technique and proceeded to the semis where she was compressed by Idelannis Gomez of Cuba.

She then fought Luisa Bonilla of Colombia for the bronze medal but lost and finished fifth overall.

Team leader Luke Preston expressed his pride at how well the team performed.

“I am very proud of the team’s performance,” he said. “Every single player fought for a medal and gave it their all. What impressed me just as much as the wins on the mat was the team spirit. Jamaican judo can be very proud, and the future is bright.”

Jamaica Olympic Association President (JOA), Christopher Samuda was also impressed.

“The JOA’s continued investment in our members is paying dividends. Judo, as is the case with others, is now flexing confidently its muscle and punching admirably above its weight,” he said of the performance of the athletes, who’s association became a member of the JOA in 2019.

“We, the JOA, are in the real business of creating opportunities, actualizing talent and building regional and global stages on which aspirations can be realized.”

JOA Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster hailed the speed at which the sport of judo had established itself within the Jamaican sports landscape.

“Since the 2020 Tokyo Games, the sport of judo has made tremendous strides under the leadership of the association’s president and general secretary, Dwayne Barrett and Szandra Szogedi, respectively, and the partnership between the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Jamaica Judo Association (JJA), continues to seize history-making opportunities in the sport,” he said.

“The five judokas who went to the Dominican Republic to qualify for the 2023 El Salvador CAC Games reaped success in stocking the association’s cabinet with medals which looks set to be decorated with more when the games in El Salvador get on the way on June 23.”

Express Canteen, for the second year running, will be donating JMD$250,000 to help send Hydel to the 2023 Penn Relays set to run off from April 27-29. Hydel is sending an eight-member team to the relays this year.

Chairman of Express Canteen Ryan Foster made the announcement on Monday as Hydel High School celebrated their first title at ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships that concluded on Saturday, April 1.

In 2022, Hydel’s head coach Corey Bennett, revealed that the school faced financial challenges and was forced to cut members of the team they had planned to send to the Relays in Philadelphia. Express Canteen responded to the call for help and donated JMD$250,000 towards the venture.

At the celebrations at the school grounds in Ferry, St Catherine on Monday, company’s chairman Ryan Foster said they will be doing the same in 2023.

"Last year, Corey came to me for assistance to get the girls to the Penn Relays as there was an immediate shortfall being experienced. Most naturally, Express Canteen intervened and assisted them to attend the games,” said Foster, who is also Chairman of the Board of the Hydel Group of Schools.

“This year the need still exists and we are on board again to make this dream possible. My motto is "it is not how big you are as a company but is how big of a sacrifice you can make to make another person’s life better.

“The joy does not come in financial rewards but it is the many blessings that I have received over the course of my business. The Penn Relays is a staple and I believe Express Canteen will continue to support Hydel Girls, one of our key partners, to continue to excel. The support this year is $250,000."

For his part, Bennett, who is also Vice President of the Hydel Group of Schools, expressed his gratitude for the continued support.

“It is really special to get sponsorship from Express Canteen and it has come at such a good time when we try to expose our young athletes to international competition,” he said.

“It is a very timely gift to us because without these contributions we have no way to attending the Penn Relays and we are just thankful to Express Canteen that continues to invest in Jamaica’s youth through their sponsorship.”

Last year, Hydel High School broke their own Penn Relays record in the high school girls 4x400m relays when they set a time of 3:32.77. In doing so, they broke the record of 3:33.99 set in 2017.

In 2010, Dr. Walton Small, in his first year as principal at Wolmer’s High School for Boys’ presided over proceedings when they celebrated their first hold on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy in 100 years as boys’ champions of the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships.

Fast-forward 13 years, and Dr Small, in his first year as principal of Hydel High School, is celebrating once again. The school which is celebrating its 30th anniversary won their first ever girls’ title at the 113-year-old high school championships.

Does he see himself as a sort of lucky charm?

Perhaps not, but he believes Hydel winning at the five-day athletics championships that concluded on Saturday, was the result of everyone playing their part.

“I am not sure (he is a lucky charm) but for me, my role as an educator whether it was at Wolmer’s or at Hydel, is of father, motivator,” he said as the school celebrated at its Ferry campus in St Catherine, the historic win after dethroning eight-time defending champions Edwin Allen by a mere two points – 279 to 277.

“That is my role to make them feel special; tell them at devotion, let them dance at devotion. I brought Mr (Coach Corey) Bennett there. I said come and dance for them at devotion so that they can feel relaxed and comfortable. So, I think that our role is to make sure they are good, make sure their assignments are done.

“We played our part and left the important part to the track team. They have done something special this year, the 30th anniversary.”

The timing of the victory, he said, was significant as he believes it will bring attention to the school’s desperate needs.

“I think it (the championship) was to bring attention to us. The school has been ravaged by fire, by the pandemic. We need serious support, we need attention; Corporate Jamaica and government needs to come in and assist us,” he said explaining that Hydel has so much to offer.

“This can be a one-stop shop for track and field and quality academic education because we are balancing sports.

“I have no doubt that this is going to help us. We can’t even manage any influx of athletes now because we do not have the proper facilities to accommodate them. We have the buildings but we need to retro-fit them. Once we get this help we can accommodate as many students as possible because we have a lot of buildings here,” said Dr Small who was appointed principal in September 2022.

Early on in the proceedings on Monday, the celebrations began under the blazing mid-morning sun when members of the victorious track team led the excited student population in a march onto the campus to the sound of music and blaring vuvuzelas.

Coach Corey Bennett came dancing once more, which raised the intensity of the cheers seemingly ten-fold. He danced on stage with his athletes before delivering an inspirational speech about the early days of Hydel track and field, how it has grown and developed over the last decade despite lingering doubts about the school’s ability to win a championship.  A coach, who is no longer in the sport “told me I was wasting my time,” he said.

He said Hydel sent a four-member team to their first ever Champs in 2010 when they finished 11th. A few years later they were fifth and after a few years of coming close, they have finally delivered.

He ended with a recital of the Lord’s Prayer with the audience joining in before shouting “God is good! God is good!”

CEO and President of GraceKennedy Financial Group, Grace Burnett, hailed the athletes for the tremendous achievement while singling out the performance of Kaydeen Johnson, who fell at the final barrier of the 2000m steeplechase but still managed to rise and go on to win. Johnson also won the 3000m.

Burnett said that what happened in the steeplechase was inspirational.

“Kaydeen fell during the steeplechase, she got up and she ran and she won,” she said to cheers and blaring vuvuzelas. “Sometimes in life things knock you down. You can stay lying down or you can get up, you can put your heart into it and still win.”

 She also singled out “superstar” Alana Reid who won three gold medals – the 100m in a new record of 10.92, the 200m and the 4x100m relay, team captain Oneika McAnnuff, who won the 400m hurdles and was second in the 400m, whom she described as a true leader.

She also mentioned Jody-Ann Daley who won the Class II 400m and Nastassia Fletcher, who took home gold in the Class III one lap race.

Hydel Board Chairman Ryan Foster also praised the team and shed light on the process of how the board assembled a team of administrators that helped give Hydel the push to create history in Jamaica’s high school track and field.

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, will, for the first time, set foot on the soil of Jamaica as he pays an official and historic visit to the island.

Mr Bach is set to arrive in Jamaica late Friday.

During his brief visit, the world governing Olympic body’s head will undertake a hectic schedule and President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, (JOA), Christopher Samuda, expects a very successful visit.

 “President Bach’s engagement will serve to deepen and embolden our continuing commitment to the values of Olympism as a way of life in sport while providing a welcomed opportunity for an interface with members of the local Olympic family,” said Samuda.

In July 2018, a petal from the flame of the cauldron of the 2012 London Olympic Games was established at the Sir Donald Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay by the current JOA administration “as a landmark embodying the ideals of a global sport movement, giving earnest hope to the burning aspirations of Jamaica’s sportsmen and women in their pursuit of excellence and kindling the ambitious light of our youth to emulate” JOA Secretary General and CEO, Ryan Foster, said.

At the heart of the President Bach’s visit will undoubtedly be fraternal unity as the top brass of the JOA and IOC executives meet on common ground in advancing the Olympic agenda.

“A meeting of the minds in sport, a mutuality of purpose and will and commonality of values will characterize discussions and anchor outcomes” President Samuda stated.

President Bach, a Montreal 1976 Olympic Games gold medalist in the discipline of foil in fencing and a lawyer by profession, will depart the island with his delegation on March 5 on the way to the Dominican Republic after “what we have every confidence will be a milestone in Jamaica’s Olympic experience” Secretary General Foster concluded.

As the national women's softball team prepares to leave the island shortly, they do so confident in the backing they have received from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

The team leaves for the US Virgin Islands where they will participate in a qualifying tournament for the Pan-American Games as a precursor to an Olympic bid.

The national association is funding the aspirations of softball on a journey which, hopefully, will be historic.

“History making and their love for country compel our support for softball and I have watched them in training exemplifying commitment and going beyond the challenges of not having the luxury of resources in the sport to creating a wealth of talent,” said JOA President Christopher Samuda.

The national team has been in training at their home ground at Up Park Camp and for JOA Secretary General/CEO,  Ryan Foster, “the JOA is proud of and committed to the softball artillery as part of our armoury of building capacity in several sports in giving them a fighting chance in the international arena of combat. This investment is bankable.”

Softball Jamaica’s President, Marvalyn Campbell, thanked the nation’s governing sport body “for believing in softball and responding every time to the call which will not be forgotten and for which the team is very grateful.”

The JOA Executives also lauded the directors of Softball Jamaica for growing the support and providing our sportsmen and women opportunities for self-actualisation and national representation.  

 

 

Page 1 of 3
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.