Olympic qualifiers thank JOA, set goals for Tokyo

By Sports Desk June 21, 2021
Jamaica's super heavyweight boxer, Ricardo Brown (centre), celebrates winning the Pan Am Games bronze medal in Lima, Peru, with the man who beat him in the semis, Colombia's Salzedo Codazzi and, coach Gilbert Vaz (right) and Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President, Christopher Samuda (left) and JOA General Secretary/CEO, Ryan Foster (second right). Jamaica's super heavyweight boxer, Ricardo Brown (centre), celebrates winning the Pan Am Games bronze medal in Lima, Peru, with the man who beat him in the semis, Colombia's Salzedo Codazzi and, coach Gilbert Vaz (right) and Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President, Christopher Samuda (left) and JOA General Secretary/CEO, Ryan Foster (second right).

As they aspire to achieve loftier goals at sports’ ultimate event, the nation’s latest qualifiers for the Olympic Games and sporting associations they represent, have expressed gratitude to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for the assistance afforded in attaining their Tokyo goal.

Boxer Ricardo Brown and history-setting diver, Yona Knight-Wisdom, were recently rewarded with qualification spots to the Tokyo Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), world sports’ governing body.

Results achieved at regional and global events such as the Pan Am Games were used to decide qualifiers. Importantly, sports’ local apex body, the JOA, played a lead role in the participation of Jamaica’s athletes at these events and also other events and training that formed part of their overall preparation, which was geared towards the Olympics.

“I want to say thank you to the JOA because if it wasn’t for them I would still be out there trying to get a chance to qualify,” said Brown. “I want to thank them for the hard work and funding they put out to get me where I am now.”

Knight-Wisdom, who is making it to his second Olympics Games – a first-time achievement for a Caribbean diver - expressed that the JOA has been backing his talent for a long time.

He said: “The JOA’s support along the way has been great, being able to compete at events such as the CAC Games, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games. They were really important, helping me grow on my level of experience and giving me all the competitions I needed, plus all the other ones that I did separately -  the Grand Prix’s, the World Championships, and it was really helpful. On top of that, being able to receive the IOC Scholarship since 2017, probably I have received 10 instalments of that, not including the current period. That has basically kept me afloat.”

He added: “Payment for rent and bills made everything else more challenging than before Rio and the JOA, making sure I received my IOC money, it was extremely helpful.”

The president of the Jamaica Boxing Board, Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones, said the JOA has been supporting Brown’s progress for years.

“We’re very grateful to those who have supported him. We’re grateful to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), they have been following him before the Panam Games when he got his bronze medal and they have been there throughout the pandemic,” Jones highlighted. “Even with the pandemic, he has been in Canada training because he has more competition there because there are more people in his weight class that he could compete against. Before the pandemic, he was training there.”

Continuing, Jones said: “He has been at the tip of the tongue for the JOA. They have followed his trajectory and when we realised that there were going to be no more qualifications in the Americas for the rest of the boxers who were supposed to represent us as well they were steadfast in making sure that Ricardo, the fact that he has an AIBA world ranking, they wanted the boxing federation to make sure that his name was at the top of the list to at least have one of us qualify for the Olympic Games. So we’re grateful for them (JOA) in that regard and wish Ricardo all the best.”

As a matter of fact, there are high hopes that the Jamaican boxer will medal in Tokyo.

“We are expecting him to come back with the first medal in boxing that Jamaica has ever achieved at the Olympic Games,” said Jones.

Brown, too, is very confident.

Commenting on his medal chances, he said: “Yes. That is a must. I’m going for a medal so I’m training hard for that.”

Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica President, Martin Lyn, commented on Knight-Wisdom’s historical achievement and the JOA’s contribution.

“I am elated that Yona has made it to another Olympics. It is the first time in the history of Jamaica and the Caribbean that a diver has made it to two consecutive Olympics. That is kudos to the ASAJ,” said Lyn.

“The journey would not have been as successful without the help of the JOA. The JOA has been extremely supportive of our diver and we definitely have welcomed that support. It has definitely increased over the years and Yona himself is very appreciative of the help. He couldn’t have done it without us,” Lyn revealed.

Knight-Wisdom, who finished 14th in Rio, is aiming for a better finish four years on.

“I want to improve on what I did in Rio. I missed out on making the final by eight points,” he said.

“I was disappointed, I knew I could have competed better so as soon as I finished I was already thinking about the next cycle and what I can do and improve on what I did in Rio and make that final,” he added.

“That is what I would love to do this time. It’s going to be challenging, it’s going to be tough because there are a lot of good divers out there,” Knight-Wisdom shared. “I can’t wait to compete and represent Jamaica as best as possible, put Jamaica on the map in the diving world.”

 

 

Related items

  • Thompson-Herah will not defend 200m title at Paris Olympics Thompson-Herah will not defend 200m title at Paris Olympics

    Five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah will not be defending her 200m title at this year's Games in Paris.

    The 31-year-old became the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic sprint doubles at Tokyo 2020 when she retained her 100m and 200m titles.

    Thompson-Herah will not be able to achieve the feat again, however, after opting to only cover 100m at the upcoming Jamaican trials.

    She appeared to sustain an injury while competing in the 100m at the NYC Grand Prix earlier this month.

    The Jamaican is the second-fastest woman in history over that distance, though injuries have disrupted her competition schedule in the last year.

    The athletics events at the Paris Olympics will take place between August 1-11.

  • Sabalenka confirms she will not compete at Paris Olympics Sabalenka confirms she will not compete at Paris Olympics

    Aryna Sabalenka has confirmed she will not compete at the Olympic Games in Paris next month in order to prioritise her health. 

    The world number three retained her Australian Open title at the start of the year but suffered defeat in the quarter-finals of the French Open at Roland-Garros.

    The Belarusian's loss was her first before the semi-final stage of a major tournament since 2022, and she intends to rest ahead of the for the hard-court season which begins at the US Open 22 games after the Olympics. 

    "I prefer to have a little rest to make sure physically and health-wise I'm ready for the hard courts," said Sabalenka, who was the runner-up last year in New York. 

    "Especially with all the struggles I've been struggling with the last months, I feel I have to take care of my health.

    "It's too much for the scheduling and I made the decision to take care of my health."

    Sabalenka is currently in Germany preparing for the Berlin Open, and faces Daria Kasatkina in the last 16 of the competition, having come from a set down to beat Marta Kostyuk on Monday. 

  • Retiring at Wimbledon or the Olympics would be fitting, says Murray Retiring at Wimbledon or the Olympics would be fitting, says Murray

    Andy Murray has said it would be fitting to call time on his glistening tennis career at Wimbledon or the Paris Olympics this year. 

    The 37-year-old has prevailed in both competitions during his professional career, becoming the first British winner of the men's singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 at Wimbledon in 2013.

    Murray also won gold on two occasions for Team GB in London 12 years ago and the Rio games in 2016. But when asked if he would compete in the US Open or the Davis Cup, he said: "I don’t think so.

    "Probably if I was going to finish my career I would rather finish at Wimbledon or an Olympic Games - to me that would probably be more fitting."

    "I've had amazing experiences and memories from Wimbledon, but also being part of British Olympics teams."

    The former world number one will take part in the Queen's Club Championships and faces Alexei Popyrin on Monday, but revealed that he will not be playing as much over the next few months. 

    He said: "My plans haven't really changed. I'm not planning to playing much past this summer. I'll see how I feel in the next couple of weeks. There are lots of things to factor in to retirement from sport.

    "I think in lots of careers, retirement is something you celebrate and people really look forward to that day – that's not something I feel. I love playing tennis.

    "Ultimately, if physically you're not able to play to the level you want to, the results are not as you wish, those things factor into the decision."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.