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The Jamaica Paralympian Association has challenged made by Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange over she claims she made as to the reason why they have not received funding under the government’s Athletes Assistance Programme.

On February 9, 2020, Minister Grange said that the Athletes Assistance Programme would commence on March 1, 2020, and continue into mid-July. The athletes who were eligible were those who had qualified or were on the brink of qualifying for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The minister also said that athletes in the programme would receive JMD $20,000 per week towards their preparation. That money was to be disbursed on a monthly basis. However, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government announced that the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games had been postponed, the ministry suspended the programme.

The ministry announced on March 24, that it would commit to paying out sums under the Athletes Assistance Programme up to the end of March.

However, in a recent statement released from the ministry, the minister said; “Our Paralympians had not yet begun training when the decisions to postpone the Tokyo Games and suspend the Athletes Assistance Programme were taken and therefore not eligible to receive payment under the programme"

The JPA disputes the claim.

“Our athletes commenced background training for the Paralympic Games in December 2019 in keeping with standard and globally accepted practices respecting athletes' preparation and conditioning for games in the ensuing year,” the JPA said in a statement on Monday.

“It has never been the practice of the JPA to have our athletes commence training for the Paralympic Games (or any championship or tournament) four or five months before the staging of the Games which is an inference to be drawn from the statement attributed to the Honourable Minister.

“Consequently, at no time did the JPA advise anyone in March of this year or at any other time that our athletes had not begun training for the Paralympic Games which was originally scheduled for August of this year.”

According to the JPA, its athletes, since December 2019, had been pursuing their respective training programmes and were in high gear in March 2020. Some, it said, had even participated overseas in qualifying regional and international tournaments in their bid to qualify for the Paralympic Games.

They have also continued to train.

“Since the announcement of the postponement of the Paralympic Games, our athletes have continued, albeit on a limited scale, in training. The JPA, therefore, cannot appreciate the basis of the statement attributed to the Honourable Minister,” the JPA said.

 

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness will unveil the statue in a special ceremony at Statue Park in the National Stadium, beginning at 5:00 pm.

Minister Grange has invited the public to attend the ceremony and witness the unveiling of the statue.

Minister Grange said: “This is the final of four statues that we commissioned as part of the Jamaica 55 Legacy programme to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding athletes.

The statues not only highlight Jamaican athletic success but will serve as inspiration for all of us about what is possible when we try.

So I invite as many people as possible to join us on Sunday and celebrate with Asafa.

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Sports Minister Olivia Grange says the Government will give substantial financial support to the family of slain Jamaica women's international footballer Tarania Clarke.

Grange made the announcement on her Instagram page on Thursday after meeting with Tarania’s mother Charmaine Riley Clarke, her sister Tina Darby and coach Xavier Gilbert at the Minister’s offices in New Kingston.

The meeting took place ahead of the Service of Thanksgiving for Tarania set for the Excelsior High School Auditorium on Saturday, December 22.

“The Ministry sees it as a responsibility to be facilitating the planning of final arrangements for Tarania’s Thanksgiving Service through funds to be paid over from the benefits derived from the Jamaica Athlete’s Insurance Plan, the Government Of Jamaica’s Group Health, Group Life and Personal Accident Plan.

“We are committed to providing the necessary assistance to ensure that Tarania’s sending home is befitting of one who served her country well. She was not only a brilliant footballer and leader but a wonderful individual,” the Sports Minister said.

Tarania died after a stabbing incident in the capital city of Kingston on October 31.

Police said the 20-year-old midfielder was pronounced dead in hospital.

Officers stated that Tarania died after a dispute over a mobile phone at about 8.50 pm on the night of October 31. A woman has since been charged.

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