Sunday 18 August, 2019

Synchronised swimmers dominate competition in China

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe (right), speaks with Jamaican coach, Rachell Minto-Walker (second right), and three of the winning synchronised swimming team members (from left): Ajoni Llewellyn, Laila Bailey and Nyouka Baugh in China.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe (right), speaks with Jamaican coach, Rachell Minto-Walker (second right), and three of the winning synchronised swimming team members (from left): Ajoni Llewellyn, Laila Bailey and Nyouka Baugh in China.

Jamaica’s synchronised swimmers participating in this year’s Jamaica-China Technical Assistance Project dominated the 2019 Zhuzhou Foreign Language Sports Cup Synchronised Swimming Friendship Competition, held recently in China.

The good news was given to Jamaica’s nine-member delegation, who visited the team’s training base at the Zhuzhou Sports Centre in China on August 13. Members are in China to observe how the participants are progressing under the project.

According to one of the Jamaican coaches for the synchronised swimming team, Rachell Minto-Walker, “the team did extremely well at the friendly competition.”

Minto-Walker said the Jamaican team dominated every category that they entered. “We ended the competition with 10 gold medals and one bronze, and we noticed that all our scores improved dramatically, so it was very good for us,” she said.

The 2019 Zhuzhou Foreign Language Sports Cup Synchronised Swimming Friendship Competition, which was held on July 29 and 30, saw the Jamaican team competing against five local swimming clubs.

The team’s Chinese coach hailed the girls for their outstanding performance, noting that he was particularly impressed that the girls were able to achieve the feat after just “one month of training,” adding that “they have improved a lot and (they have) made progress.”

Since early July, 138 Jamaican athletes, managers and coaches in seven sporting disciplines have been receiving specialised training in China. The training is in the areas of synchronised swimming, badminton, basketball, football, gymnastics, volleyball, and basketball. This latest training will last for 60 days.

Also, as part of the programme, the Jamaican delegation, headed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe, was specially invited to observe the training of the athletes at no cost.

Thorpe said, “It would be remiss of me (not) to express, on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, and especially on behalf of my Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, our appreciation (and) gratitude to the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China for this wonderful programme."

The delegation arrived in China on August 11, 2019 and is scheduled to depart on August 18, 2019.

More than 400 Jamaican athletes will travel to China for training over the next three years under the Jamaica-China Technical Assistance Project. This sports agreement was signed by Jamaica and China in 2007.

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