Wednesday 14 November, 2018

JOA pledges commitment to sports development at CAC Games launch

Christopher Samuda (left), President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), displays a shirt of Jamaica's senior men's rugby team as he stands alongside (from right) JOA's CEO, Ryan Foster, Roberto Garcia Marquez, Colombia's Ambassador to Jamaica, athlete Warren Weir and JOA Director, Raymond Anderson.  Occasion was the JOA press conference to name its team to the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games, which will be held in Barranquilla, Colombia, from July 19-August 3.

Christopher Samuda (left), President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), displays a shirt of Jamaica's senior men's rugby team as he stands alongside (from right) JOA's CEO, Ryan Foster, Roberto Garcia Marquez, Colombia's Ambassador to Jamaica, athlete Warren Weir and JOA Director, Raymond Anderson. Occasion was the JOA press conference to name its team to the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games, which will be held in Barranquilla, Colombia, from July 19-August 3.

Firm in its belief that the nation possesses athletes of world class talent in all sporting disciplines, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has pledged to continue providing opportunities for growth in the international foray.

In April this year, the umbrella organisation of sport in the country sent its highest ever number of athletes (115) and most varied team (15 different sports) to the Gold Coast in Australia for the Commonwealth Games, with rugby, lawn bowls, wrestling and triathlon athletes making their debut for the country.

At the end of competition, Jamaica copped its best Commonwealth Games medal haul ever of 27, topping the 22 won in 2006, in Australia. The 27 placed the country second in track and field and 11th overall in the medals table.

In just over a week, the nation’s athletes will start competing at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Baranquilla, Colombia, and the JOA has stretched its landmark competitors from 135 in Veracruz, Mexico in 2014 to 183, and that for competition to 17, with wrestling, shooting and water polo athletes set for debut.

“We are inspired by the present for we are a team driven by faith in Jamaica’s stock and credentials to take command of the sporting globe in many disciplines,” said JOA President, Christopher Samuda, at a press conference to name the team at its Kingston headquarters on Tuesday.

“We are inspired with what the future will hold for the vision we have for the Olympic Movement in Jamaica as a crucible for development and success,” he added.

“If we are not serious about athletic facility and development; responsible in the deployment of resources, human and financial; strategic in the business of sport; and business-like in building a sport industry, then we will always stand on the threshold and not enter the door of the promised land,” explained Samuda.

His views were supported by Ryan Foster, CEO of the JOA, who delivered closing remarks.

Foster said: “The Jamaica Olympic Association is pleased to be a part of the growth in sport in Jamaica.”

The men’s team will have two captains, regional squash kingpin Chris Binnie and six-time national shooting champion, Shaun Barnes. For a country whose dominance at world level sport is led by its track and field sprinters, Foster said the leadership appointment is indicative of sporting advance.

“When you have our shooter being the male team captain it says a lot in how far our country have come from not being solely dependent on track and field. This point is further cemented by the fact that we will also be participating in wrestling and water polo for the first time. We have to continue this trend as it will broaden our reach and opportunities for others to not only represent our country, but to also make a honest living as a profession,” he shared.

"We recently added four new members to the JOA, with the total now at 41 members. We are seeing the benefit of this expansion as it was evidenced as well in the Commonwealth Games where we had three new sporting disciplines as well," noted Foster. “Our mandate is to facilitate dreams and actualise goals.”

Barnes welcomed the transition, saying: “I must thank the JOA for giving other sports like shooting the opportunity to go out and set a trend just like our track and field athletes have done in the past. In my opinion I feel that we have a lot to offer outside of track and field, especially in shooting where I think we’ve some of the best shooters in the world.”

He added: “We have some of the strongest athletes in Jamaica, in all disciplines and I’m happy that the JOA has taken up this initiative to expose other events, other sports, to the world.”

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