Through an injection of funds from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) will be able to send a national team of twenty-five swimmers to the upcoming XXVI Goodwill Swim Meet in Trinidad & Tobago.

The members, aged 9-17, will compete at the regional meet from August 19-21 against other Caribbean countries such as Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, Guyana, Suriname, Bahamas, Grenada and Curacao.

JOA’s sponsorship of JMD$1.2 million will go to reducing the overall costs to parents for accommodation and participation. JOA CEO and General-Secretary Ryan Foster believes in our young national athletes and their potential to represent Jamaica at all levels.

“Swimming is an essential sport, investing in the national team for the Goodwill Swim Meet will solidify our commitment to develop and promote our local athletes,” CEO Foster said.

Speaking at a recent press conference to announce the team’s plans for the meet, Vice President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica, Georgina Sinclair, explained that the Goodwill Swim Meet is the premier swim meet in the Caribbean and is a launching pad toward higher levels of competition. 

Sinclair said, “The competition at the Goodwill Meet is fierce and provides swimmers with a taste of regional rivalry. In 2019 team Jamaica doubled its previous medal haul of 32 medals when the team won 65 medals: 21 gold, 22 silver and 22 bronzed, placing 2nd overall out of 9 participating countries behind the winners, Trinidad and Tobago.” 

Goodwill Jamaica National Swim Team Head Coach Kafia Rapley shared, “The team has been training very hard for these championships, and I know they are ready,” she added, “I am excited to see how they will perform, and I believe they will each do very well in both their individual and relay events.”

 

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will, next month, launch its Olympic Coaches' Scholarships as the local governing body for Olympic sports continues its drive in making more professional the delivery of sports, especially the international games which fall under its remit.

Those games include the Summer and Winter Senior and Youth Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, the Commonwealth Games and beach games staged by regional and world governing bodies.

Enabling and empowering stakeholders remains the primary focus of the JOA which in 2019 created history when it inaugurated its own athletes' scholarships valued at over $JMD 6,000,000.00 to match scholarships, under the aegis of the Olympic Solidarity Programme of the International Olympic Committee (IOC),  are granted to athletes selected by the JOA.

"We've always been a co-partner with our coaches who are the custodians of talent and in acknowledging that fact, the JOA is making another solid and scholarly investment in our human and technical capital in sport," JOA President Christopher Samuda said.

Applicants responding to the call will formally submit their credentials in a pre-determined format and those who are shortlisted will then go through a very practical interview process governed by an expert panel assembled by the apex body, which will determine the successful beneficiaries.

JOA Secretary General and CEO, Ryan Foster, who will manage the process, outlined the value of the scholarships and more importantly the values which the JOA will be promoting, as the benefactor, through this grant.

"It's more than the $2,000,000.00 dollars that each recipient will receive to assist them in educational and career pursuits and to defray expenses incurred in relation to the preparation of their athletes and certain personal expenses, for it will be an experience in the lessons of Olympism in which they will learn  the value of self-management and mastery, goal setting and achievement and ethics and business of sport," Foster explained.

A welcomed opportunity for Jamaica's coaches, the continued grant of the scholarships by the JOA will fill a void locally and "give our coaches a new lease on their sporting lives and signal to them that the JOA is on the frontline with them and their athletes in creating success" Foster further stated.

This initiative comes on the heels of the Olympic Coaches Reward which the JOA initiated at the Tokyo Olympic Games which saw the governing body rewarding coaches of successful medalists to the tune of JMD$5,000,000.00.

Sport development calls for structured strategic management of human resources and a viable infrastructure of which coaches are essential.

"Our coaches are foundational, the cornerstone of the sports architecture and therefore the JOA is building capacity and deepening the pool of competencies while giving them assistance in dealing with certain domestic obligations of life," Samuda remarked.

The JOA Olympic Coaches Scholarships will also provide opportunities for coaches selected to collaborate with global colleagues in the transfer of knowledge in master classes.

The Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA) continues to create milestones and recently, its national team became the first team to qualify for the 2023 World Championships which will be held in San Diego, California.

In securing this achievement, the Jamaican sport ambassadors scored victories over Columbia 7 - 2 and the US Virgin Islands 5 - 4 and now stand a real chance of topping the table in the competition currently underway in Medellin, Colombia.

In commending JLA President, Calbert Hutchinson and the team, Jamaica Olympic Association President Christopher Samuda stated that "our member association continues to personify merit in sport and is inspiring its players to go beyond the call of duty in the national colors which is the essence of patriotism and a compelling attribute which all sportsmen and women should have."

The sport of Lacrosse locally is quickly gaining ascendancy which mirrors its growing popularity globally and is providing many opportunities for our youth engaged in competitive sport.

"A primary focus of the JOA is to broaden the options in sport for our youth and create as many opportunities for them to excel on the field of play in self-actualising while motivating them to earn a value-based education that will be their pension after sport. Lacrosse is raising the bar impressively and is taking ownership and passing the shuttle and not the buck'" Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster said.

The sport was contested at the Summer Olympics Games in 1904 and 1908 and played as an exhibition sport in 1928, 1932 and 1948 and the JOA supports the growing advocacy to have the sport make a long-awaited re-appearance in 2028 in Los Angeles.

"The calls for the sport's rebirth in Los Angeles are resonating and fittingly so after being absent for almost a century. If the echoes of history don't compel it, then the voices of the present will" President Samuda said.

   JOA INVESTS IN THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF JAMAICA’S TRIATHLETES

 

Kingston, Jamaica…The Jamaica Triathlon Association (JTA) received a welcome boost recently when they were able to acquire eight new `bicycles with the help of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

Through a JOA grant of JMD$1 million the JTA was able to acquire the bicycles and other equipment as well as assist with the promotion of the inaugural Inter-Schools Triathlon/Aquathlon Championships to be held at the National Aquatic Centre at Independence Park in Kingston on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

The championships will include age groups from six to 21 years incorporating primary, secondary and tertiary students.

Christopher Samuda, President of the JOA, said the investment is a further signal of the Olympic association’s confidence in the goals set by the JTA’s administration. 

“Our investment in the sport triathlon is three fold - the athlete, the tool of the trade, which is the bicycle, and the coach, who provides the technical competence which transitions the talent to success,” President Samuda said.

“This is JOA's cycle of development, the returns of which have been fast tracked by the experience and commitment of the new administration led by President Karl Sharpe.

“This is a solid partnership between the JOA and the Jamaica Triathlon Association, which has developed traction and the athlete is the winner and the schools the beneficiaries. One million is yet another clear signal of our confidence in the sport and the value and currency of the administration.”

JOA CEO and General-Secretary Ryan Foster believes the assistance they are providing will also help the JTA build capacity in the longer term.

“The JOA welcomes this extremely important initiative by the Jamaica Triathlon Association. The JOA shares a similar vision with the JTA regarding expanding opportunities and growing the sport in schools,” Foster said.

“We are pleased with the renewed energy displayed by President (Carl) Sharpe and his team and saw it as a right strategic fit which aligns with our vision of looking at the next generation.

“The partnership will see The JOA contributing $JMD1 million towards this competition. The sponsorship will also see the JOA providing the much-needed competition equipment, especially for those schools that do not have the resources to do so. This equipment will provide capacity to the JTA for future events."

 The consensus is that the JOA support will go a long way in helping develop the sport as well as aid in the physical development of young athletes, a view expressed by the association’s president Carl Sharpe.

“They (the bicycles) will help us to unearth talent,” he said.

Sharpe explained that several aquathlon athletes interested in becoming triathletes but they lack the resources to purchase bicycles.

He also believes that because the triathlon is a cross-discipline event, athletes who engage in the sport are likely to achieve greater levels of physical development and as a result are more likely to avoid injuries.

These sentiments were echoed by JTA Director Donna Sharpe.

“These bikes are starter bikes with different measurements that fit athletes with varying heights. The bikes will be used on a loaner basis to get athletes to start riding,” she explained.

“These are some aquathletes who want to transition to triathlon but have no bikes to get started. So they will be used to assist athletes to learn to ride and or train.”

At the inaugural championships, the JTA coaches are hoping to identify talent for the national squad in preparation for the Carifta Triathlon Aquathlon Age Group Championships scheduled to be held September 24th to 25th in Bermuda.

                                        -30-

Hydel High School has been doing well at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but their achievements might not have been possible save for the intervention of Express Canteen, whose last-minute efforts got the team on a plane to the USA earlier this week.

Hydel High's athletes have been blazing a trail of success and their girls’ team placed second at the recently-concluded ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

In a media interview after the meet, Hydel’s head coach Corey Bennett revealed challenges that the school faced in securing funding for Champs and getting to the Penn Relays, noting that due to a financial shortfall they had to cut the number of members on their team.

Express Canteen, which caters to the school as its concessionaire, answered the call as they had done before and Bennett said it is testimony to the company's commitment to the development of some of the nation's finest athletic talent.

"The fact that the Express Canteen franchise has answered the call to lend their support to the Hydel High School team travelling to the Penn Relays shows once again their commitment to invest in Jamaica’s youth and the continued nurturing of their talents," Bennett said.

"We are sincerely appreciative of Express Canteen’s financial contribution towards our team, affording them the opportunity to compete amongst some of the best teams internationally.

"We would like to publicly thank the Express Canteen’s Management for their consistent and unwavering support towards the Hydel High School track and field programme."

The largesse was not lost on Hydel’s star sprinter Briana Lyston, who expressed her gratitude.

“The support for sports, and in particular the Hydel High’s Track and Field program, is truly important to us and most appreciated by us,” she said.

“The fact that some members of the corporate world continue to understand their importance to our development in the sport is simply great!”

Two of the events in which the Hydel High girls team will be participating are the 4x100 metres and 4x400 metres relays, in which they are favoured to battle for top honours, especially in the 4x100 metres where they came face to face with arch-rivals Edwin Allen and Ryan Foster, Chairman of Express Canteen, views their contribution as an investment in the next generation of athletes.

"Express Canteen is extremely proud of the exploits of all our schools at the recent Boys' and Girls' Champs. We believe in a holistic approach to our partnerships in schools, so when we saw the need of Hydel High to attend the Penn Relays it was an easy decision to support them," said Foster, who is also he is also the General Secretary/CEO of Jamaica's apex sporting body, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"We are extremely proud of Corey and his achievements with the Hydel track programme and believe this investment is not only an investment in Hydel but also the next generation of athletes that will become our future Olympians.”

 The Hydel High School team has also secured support from Florida-based SupaJamz radio and a perennial sponsor for Jamaican high schools competing at Penns, Team Jamaica Bickle.

 

It is an open secret that the present administration of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is creating "heat waves" in winter sports as it fulfils one of its mandates of growing and strengthening Jamaica's representation in the Winter Olympic Games with a competitive edge.

Although without a medal for the last eight winter games, JOA President, Christopher Samuda, is still confident that "with the robust development programme on which the JOA has embarked with a view to broadening the menu of sports and deepening representation particularly among the next generation of youth, podium success is in the foreseeable future."

The expansive initiatives of the local governing body for winter sports demonstrate a commitment that has been ongoing. Since 2018, guided by its mantra "Sport for All, and All for Sport" which is also its rallying cry for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Games, the JOA has invested significantly in the sport of bobsled in motivating the dreams and aspirations of Jamaica's athletes in achieving a historic top of the podium finishing.

An elated JOA Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, stated that "the JOA is extremely pleased with the results having invested over $12,000,000.00 since 2018 in our bobsled athletes in assisting them in their travel, training camps and accommodation and in facilitating their qualification.

Three athletes were selected by the JOA who benefited from Olympic Solidarity scholarships amounting to over $10,000,000.00 the funds of which were used to help the athletes in their day-to-day preparation to include nutritional support. Without the scholarship programme, many athletes would not be able to afford the expenses of their daily preparation for the games."

Sports require investment in human capital and JOA's policy has been unqualified. "Investment in winter is an investment for all seasons of sport as the JOA's philosophy and culture in so far as the development of sport and inspiring our youth are concerned, whether in competitive and recreational endeavours, is timeless, non-discriminatory and with the conviction that performances will become legendary," Samuda stated.

The qualification of teams in this year's winter Games – the men's four and two-way teams and in the women's monobob - and Benjamin Alexander in alpine skiing has earned congratulations from the ruling body.

In a recognition of the accomplishments, Foster stated "the JOA pays tribute and wishes all our athletes tremendous success in the upcoming games. Our gratitude to the management team led by Fitzgerald Mitchell, Chef de Mission, and Dr Wayne Palmer, sports leader and well-known and respected orthopaedic surgeon and the delegation's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Covid Liaison Officer (CLO), who no doubt will successfully navigate the landscape in China."

Meanwhile, Samuda in endorsing those sentiments remarked: "The accomplishment of our athletes is testament to the inspiration and commitment that has and continues to drive aspirations and dreams for themselves and their country on the ice and we are hopeful that a medal will be on the Beijing menu."

Italy will be the next destination for the winter games and already the JOA is visioning history in the making as it embarks upon a programme it has described as "The Italian Ice-Breaker” and awaits destiny.

The Jamaica Olympic Association will be offering international courses in coaching development, adaptive sports and sports governance starting in January 2022. The courses will be done in conjunction with the United States Sports Academy.

When Joel Ricketts places his foot on his board in Cali, Colombia at the Junior Pan American Games later this year, he will have created history as the first Jamaican to compete in skateboarding in international competition but it will be only his first steps to representing the black, green and gold at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Since its entry into the Olympic Games in London in 1948, Jamaica has been represented at the Games in athletics, cycling, swimming, diving, gymnastics, judo, taekwondo and boxing. If Jamaica gets there, skateboarding would be the latest addition to the growing list of skills that the land of wood and water have paraded on the largest of sports’ global stages.

The gravity of such an accomplishment is not lost on the 16-year-old Ricketts.

"I'm glad that I could be given this opportunity to represent my country doing what I love. I would also like to thank the JOA and the SJL for giving me the said opportunity," he said.

Joel is an honour-roll student at Wolmer’s Boys School. The first of two children for project manager Joel Ricketts and his wife Loretta, a school teacher, Joel ran track, played football and basketball growing up but it was skateboarding that lit the cauldron of passion within him.

“Standing out vividly in my mind was the day I got a skateboard,” he said. “It was the most joyous day of my life. My passion for this particular sport led to my connection with Jamaica Skateboarding Federation and the Olympic body, Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd.

“This yearning of passion and exposure through the association has helped me to be a better team player and a more confident and disciplined individual. I am motivated and driven to excel in this sport and in other areas of my life. With the new-found self-determination and discipline gained as a result of skateboarding, this has allowed me to improve and own the skill and enjoyment of skateboarding.”

His declaration sounds like music to the ears of the Skateboarding Jamaica Limited (SJL) President Ryan Foster, who is also the Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association.

“The Junior Pan Am Games in Colombia will be historic for Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd as it will represent the first time that Jamaica will be represented in skateboarding in an international tournament,” Foster said.

“As the president, I am extremely elated that our athlete will be allowed to showcase his talent and this will be used as a stepping stone to many great things to come. Tournaments such as these are seen by the Skateboarding Jamaica Board as the beginning to the pathway to qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games.”

Joel is currently in California for a training camp courtesy of the JOA and SJL to get much-needed practice with some of the best young skateboarders in the world that Foster believes will help lay the foundation for a successful campaign towards Paris in 2024.

 “We have a core of skateboarders currently, which will form part of our Olympic squad and the board of SJL will be working with our strategic stakeholders to ensure that Jamaica will have representation in 2024 Olympics," the president said.

Meanwhile, Joel revealed that he is learning a lot in California.

“I am learning a lot, really, but what I am really working on is breaking the lines together and getting over the fear factor of skateboarding, which is falling but the basics are down so what we are working on is putting the basics together and formatting them into my trick system,” he said.

Creating history for Jamaica in the sport, he said, is both terrifying and satisfying.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking but I am also excited. I got this opportunity to do what I love, there is nothing better than that so I am just going to do the best I can,” he said.”

“To make the Olympics in skateboarding would be amazing. It is one of my goals.”

To get there, Joel has to successfully navigate a pathway filled with challenges that come in the form of qualifying tournaments across the globe. The equation is simple; do well and Paris awaits.

“You have the Street League, which is a skateboarding contest, which has aligned with World Skate and they organize contests in different parts of the world – France, Japan, Brazil and Italy sometimes. That’s where most of the points are earned and then there are other meets like the OISTU Open in Brazil,” Joel said.

His focus after the Junior Pan Am Games is getting better.

“More contests, more practice, getting better and getting over that fear and it would mean a lot to me,” he said.

“I go by the rule, ‘If it has been done it is achievable and there is always room for growth. The best is yet to come.”

The journey has begun.

History will be made at 2023 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games scheduled to take place in San Salvador where the sport of netball will be contested for the very first time, thanks to the advocacy of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"Netball got, deservedly, our approval to take a seat at the regional table and with this accomplishment, the journey now begins to globalize the sport and the JOA stands ready to again play a signal role," said JOA President Christopher Samuda.

Samuda is a member of the Executive Board of Centro Caribe Sports which owns the games.

An established sport in English-speaking regional territories and now a staple on the sporting agenda of several Spanish-speaking countries, Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Ryan Foster, was never in doubt that the sport would transition.

 "I have the privilege of sitting on the Technical Commission of Centro Caribe Sports and from the get-go, I inked my finger and campaigned for netball for I was confident that the sport's credentials would result in a landslide victory," he said.

As the number of Olympic sports on the agenda for multi-sport games increases, the need for a non-Olympic sport to ensure that it is "first to market" becomes increasingly critical for entry to such events as the CAC Games.

 "Insofar as netball is concerned, we at the JOA understood that in order to become a resident of the household of multi-sport games of the Olympic movement, the sport had to muscle its way to first in the line and present, persuasively, credentials for occupancy,” Samuda explained.

Jamaica’s netball pedigree is well known and in the run-up to the 2023 San Salvador CAC Games, the JOA and Netball Jamaica in partnership with Centro Caribe Sports, will be hosting educational workshops and training sessions for teams from Spanish-speaking countries with a view to enhancing their skill sets and technical competencies in the sport.

"What is the value of knowledge and expertise if they're not shared in creating greater capital and opportunities for others in the sporting fraternity?" JOA Secretary-General and CEO Foster queried.

With the withdrawal of Panama City as host of the games, the Executive Board of Centro Caribe Sports moved quickly to re-start the bidding process to secure an alternative host and recently formalized the contract with the Government of the Republic of El Salvador, the municipality of San Salvador and the Local Organizing Committee.

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.

More Sports On Board for the Cali Junior Pan-American Games

The list of sports in which Jamaica will be represented at the first-ever Junior Pan-American Games in Cali, Colombia, continues to grow with the latest additions being Skateboarding, Squash and Archery.

President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, describes the strong showing as "proof positive that the JOA's policy of equal opportunity, parity in investment and empowering the next-generation is encouraging and having results."

Representation now stands at a historic 12 sports, by far the largest number of sports that the local Olympic movement has ever had at a multi-sport regional or international games.

This fact has prompted President Samuda to say: "For us, at the JOA, strength lies in numbers, strength lies in a wealth of talent and strength lies in the conviction that today's real-time investment is tomorrow's history-making dividends."

Preparation for Cali is on in earnest and, for the Samuda-led administration, management of games generally has become a "business of sport" undertaking.

Commenting on the new approach, JOA Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, said: "Investing in and banking on the inflow of talent, increasing the numbers on the books,  creating opportunities for exponential growth and having a professional management team to  manage flow and outflow of games is our business at the JOA."

The positive response of the juniors augurs well for the future of the Olympic movement which is founded on the fundamental principles of inclusion and allowing each athlete the opportunity to transition to the international stage where, Secretary-General Foster stated, "history awaits those who had the discipline to train and the present will to succeed."

The Cali games will be held between November 25 and December 5 and "it will provide Jamaica's juniors and those of the America's opportunities to test their credentials for the 2023 Pan-American Games with the hope of graduating to the finale in 2024 in Paris" President Samuda stated.

Jamaica will be represented in several sports at the first-ever Junior Pan-American Games which is scheduled to take place in the city of Cali in Colombia between November 25 and December 5, 2021.

Responding to the call made by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) earlier this year, several juniors from the so-called "smaller sports" dedicated their efforts in qualifying and have now earned a coveted place at the historic games.

Among those sports, whose athletes will don the black green and gold national colours in Cali, are Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Artistic Gymnastics, Fencing, Badminton Triathlon, Tennis, Cycling (Track), Skateboarding and Squash.

In commending the commitment of member associations and the nation's juniors, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, said: "Our associations and federations and their juniors have responded positively and with national pride to the JOA's Cali call to action for it will be for us, 'business unusual' in Cali and for them, it will be 'signed, sealed and delivered."

The JOA boss, in expressing a well-known policy of the national governing body, further stated "the JOA is giving our young sportsmen and women every opportunity to transition and be more than gold medalists - to be standard-bearers. The JOA subscribes to this ideal and Cali is certainly embracing it."

The number of local sports that will feature at the multi-sport junior games is indeed a record for the JOA and is being interpreted by its Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, as "a clear signal that the JOA's strategy of diversification is working well and that our members are inspiring their junior athletes to be history-makers and to strive for excellence."

With the Santiago 2023 Senior Pan-American Games and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games only two and three years away respectively, the JOA views the Cali games as a critical milestone. Secretary-General Foster, in giving the context, was unequivocal. "Cali is a dress rehearsal for our juniors. If you want to be at the senior shows, you have to, from now, dress for the shows, study the scripts and be able to deliver yourself on the big stages."

The stage lights in Cali will soon be turned on to spotlight over 3,800 athletes from the Caribbean and Americas - north, central and south -who will compete across 315 events in 28 sports and "Jamaica will be their centre stage and the objective is to have a leading role in this historic event," President Samuda said.

Jamaican Olympian Toni-Ann Williams is in Belgium to begin studies in Sports Administration on an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship via the Jamaica Olympic Association.

The Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) is brimming with pride over the advances made in the discipline of artistic swimming.

For athletes heading to Tokyo for the Olympic Games, winning medals would rank high on their list of priorities. For every Jamaican athlete who medals at the Tokyo Games, there is now an even greater incentive as anyone who wins a medal will get a bonus of free insurance for one year.

This latest incentive is one of the benefits from a recent partnership inked between the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Marathon Insurance Brokers Limited. The partnership is valued at J$12 million and will run for the three-year period leading up to the 2024 Olympic Games.

In reference to the benefits, Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO, JOA, gave a broader perspective of the deal that was announced nearly one week ago.

“The JOA/Marathon partnership was centred around expanding our member services to our associations. For far too long we have looked at sport as just attending Games, but have not done enough to tap into the sport as an avenue for social change,” he said.

“One of the benefits of this partnership is for the direct benefit of our athletes for which all medalists at the Olympic Games will receive free insurance for one year. This is in addition to the comprehensive coverage that Marathon will be providing for all members attending the Olympic Games.”

Marathon Insurance has had a long partnership with the JOA, dating back to the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. This time they will be diving further into the deal with the JOA to deliver projects that involve the Athlete’s Commission and female empowerment through the Women’s Commission.

“The partnership has gone even further as Marathon will be partnering with the JOA and the Women’s Commission and Athlete Commission on various social projects geared towards, including, at-risk girls in sport and the expansion of Olympism values in schools,” Foster shared.

“All of these initiatives will be funded under this partnership and will involve the JOA engaging in providing not just mentoring and educational activities, but will involve nutritional support, school fees and school materials for the selected young athletes."

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