Team Jamaica Bickle, after 30 years, continuing to put athletes’ welfare first

By February 21, 2024
Team Jamaica Bickle founder and CEO Irwine Clare. Team Jamaica Bickle founder and CEO Irwine Clare.

‘Our Athletes, Our Ambassadors.’ Those are the words that govern the actions of one of the leading organizations in sports, Team Jamaica Bickle.

For the past three decades, TJB, a not-for-profit corporation based in New York State, has been providing support services for Caribbean athletes, particularly Jamaicans, who compete at the annual Penn Relays Carnival, which is held at the University of Pennsylvania, (UPENN) in Philadelphia, PA.

Their services also extend to a delegation of approximately six hundred & fifty (650) students and coaches from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Guyana and Grenada. 

“We have always said that whatever we do, it’s for our athlete’s welfare,” TJB founder and CEO Irwine G. Clare Snr. told SportsMax.tv.

“When all is said and done, all the fandangles, all the bells and whistles, all the verbal commentary and the niceties, at the end of the day, it’s about the welfare of the athletes because in essence, in our business, it takes cash to care. It means that, at the end of the day, we have to ensure that we have the resources and all the necessities in place to satisfy our athletes’ requirements. That’s the business we’re in,” he added.

Over the years TJB has welcomed and extended its services to delegations of students and coaches from the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), Bahamas, Barbados and most recently Belize.

Team Jamaica Bickle provides the following: Meals and other refreshments, physical therapy, chiropractic, mentorship and medical services, ground transportation, daily hotel to stadium shuttle, airport transfers for arrival & departure, subsidized hotel rate and subsidized airfare.

Additionally, the Team Jamaica Bickle “Defibrillator to Schools Program,” was initiated in 2014 after the loss of St. Jago High School athlete, Cavahn McKenzie at a cross-country meet in Tobago.

This caused the organization to consider the lack of emergency resources in Jamaican schools.  That year, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit was donated to St. Jago High School at the Penn Relays.

A Medical Pavilion in his honor was erected in the TJB Village where athletes could get medical and dental information and be trained in CPR. It continues to be a feature today.

In 2016 another athlete, Dominic James of St. Georges’ College, tragically lost his life during a Manning Cup game. This unfortunate event spurred TJB to ramp up the CPR training & AED donations to better prepare schools for emergencies.

The program has received the support of the Ministry of Education, Government Agencies, The Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA), Corporate Jamaica and the Diaspora.

Since 2014 the organization has donated over 130 AED units to schools, trained over 250 staff and influenced the donation of several others to various institutions. The goal is to outfit each high school across the Island with a unit.

“We have seen where our efforts have inspired other Diaspora organizations contribute AEDs to several schools and medical institutions,” said Clare.

“We are encouraged and remain committed to the goal of outfitting all High Schools,” he added.

In 1999, Team Jamaica Bickle became the first Jamaican organization to be a participating sponsor at the Penn Relays.

As a result, the Jamaican flag became the first foreign flag to be flown at the Penn Relays, a distinction unmatched. Over the years, TJB has received numerous proclamations and awards from several local and national entities.

As it relates to growth of the organization, Clare said it comes down to continuing to be able to meet the needs of athletes as they evolve.

“Our athletes over the years have brought a sense of tenacity, professionalism and discipline to their craft, making them better. We too have to adopt that principle,” he said

“When we speak of growth, it is growth from the standpoint of efficiencies and finding ways to leverage what we have so that we can remain relevant to the causes of the athletes because the athletes are not stagnant. If you want to win you have to step up your game, it’s the same thing with us,” he added.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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