The 43rd Western Relays was launched at the Deja All-Inclusive Resort on the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard in Montego Bay on Tuesday without its long-time sponsor Milo. The meet set for Saturday, February 12, is scheduled to begin at 100:00 am and end at 5:00 PM at the GC Foster College in St. Catherine.

There will be a reduced number of events at this year’s staging because of Covid-related restrictions that include no spectators. Arising from the development, the organizers have arranged to stream the meet live on the TrackAlerts YouTube channel.

The events on the schedule this year include 100m, 400m, 4x100m relays, 4x400m relays, 4x800m relays and the Sprint Medley Relay.

Regarding the absence of the usual title sponsor, Chairman of the Organizing Committee Ray Harvey said that a number of sponsors have come on board to make up for some of the shortfalls of funds to stage a successful but scaled-down version of the meet.

He said he was pleased that the meet was able to return to the calendar for the 2022 season.

"The fact that we didn't have our meet last year told us we should have our meet this year. We did not want to have the two-year hiatus,” Harvey said.

“We have been away from Montego Bay for four years now but that is acceptable but having no meet in is not acceptable.  So despite the early setback of not having Milo's sponsorship we were determined that the 2022 Western Relays should take place.”

  Among the sponsors that have come aboard is the Sports Development Foundation (SDF).

"The history of the event speaks for itself.  When I got the call and I took it to the board, there wasn't any great convincing,” said SDF General Manager Denzil Wilks.

“We all knew what this thing was all about and when we were told that the major sponsor dropped out, we recognized immediately that we couldn't let this one fall by the wayside.”

The Jamaica Olympic Association's (JOA) has also come on board to provide financial support for the meet.

"We are very pleased to be a part of the Western Relays.  We think it’s an important event for the West because it provides the opportunity for young people not only to demonstrate their athletic prowess but also to be educated and grow with the meet in statue,” said President Christopher Samuda.

“We came on board in response to a need and we always respond to needs.  We interface directly with our member associations but certainly when a brief is given to us and we understand that there is a need then we respond positively. “

Also among the sponsors are WATA, Powerade, Custom Marble, Trackalerts, Gibson McCook Relays, World-Class Athletics and On Di Run Events Managements as well as some of Ray Harvey's batch-mates at Nebraska University.

It is an open secret that the present administration of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is creating "heat waves" in winter sports as it fulfils one of its mandates of growing and strengthening Jamaica's representation in the Winter Olympic Games with a competitive edge.

Although without a medal for the last eight winter games, JOA President, Christopher Samuda, is still confident that "with the robust development programme on which the JOA has embarked with a view to broadening the menu of sports and deepening representation particularly among the next generation of youth, podium success is in the foreseeable future."

The expansive initiatives of the local governing body for winter sports demonstrate a commitment that has been ongoing. Since 2018, guided by its mantra "Sport for All, and All for Sport" which is also its rallying cry for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Games, the JOA has invested significantly in the sport of bobsled in motivating the dreams and aspirations of Jamaica's athletes in achieving a historic top of the podium finishing.

An elated JOA Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, stated that "the JOA is extremely pleased with the results having invested over $12,000,000.00 since 2018 in our bobsled athletes in assisting them in their travel, training camps and accommodation and in facilitating their qualification.

Three athletes were selected by the JOA who benefited from Olympic Solidarity scholarships amounting to over $10,000,000.00 the funds of which were used to help the athletes in their day-to-day preparation to include nutritional support. Without the scholarship programme, many athletes would not be able to afford the expenses of their daily preparation for the games."

Sports require investment in human capital and JOA's policy has been unqualified. "Investment in winter is an investment for all seasons of sport as the JOA's philosophy and culture in so far as the development of sport and inspiring our youth are concerned, whether in competitive and recreational endeavours, is timeless, non-discriminatory and with the conviction that performances will become legendary," Samuda stated.

The qualification of teams in this year's winter Games – the men's four and two-way teams and in the women's monobob - and Benjamin Alexander in alpine skiing has earned congratulations from the ruling body.

In a recognition of the accomplishments, Foster stated "the JOA pays tribute and wishes all our athletes tremendous success in the upcoming games. Our gratitude to the management team led by Fitzgerald Mitchell, Chef de Mission, and Dr Wayne Palmer, sports leader and well-known and respected orthopaedic surgeon and the delegation's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Covid Liaison Officer (CLO), who no doubt will successfully navigate the landscape in China."

Meanwhile, Samuda in endorsing those sentiments remarked: "The accomplishment of our athletes is testament to the inspiration and commitment that has and continues to drive aspirations and dreams for themselves and their country on the ice and we are hopeful that a medal will be on the Beijing menu."

Italy will be the next destination for the winter games and already the JOA is visioning history in the making as it embarks upon a programme it has described as "The Italian Ice-Breaker” and awaits destiny.

The Jamaica Olympic Association will be offering international courses in coaching development, adaptive sports and sports governance starting in January 2022. The courses will be done in conjunction with the United States Sports Academy.

History will be made at 2023 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games scheduled to take place in San Salvador where the sport of netball will be contested for the very first time, thanks to the advocacy of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"Netball got, deservedly, our approval to take a seat at the regional table and with this accomplishment, the journey now begins to globalize the sport and the JOA stands ready to again play a signal role," said JOA President Christopher Samuda.

Samuda is a member of the Executive Board of Centro Caribe Sports which owns the games.

An established sport in English-speaking regional territories and now a staple on the sporting agenda of several Spanish-speaking countries, Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Ryan Foster, was never in doubt that the sport would transition.

 "I have the privilege of sitting on the Technical Commission of Centro Caribe Sports and from the get-go, I inked my finger and campaigned for netball for I was confident that the sport's credentials would result in a landslide victory," he said.

As the number of Olympic sports on the agenda for multi-sport games increases, the need for a non-Olympic sport to ensure that it is "first to market" becomes increasingly critical for entry to such events as the CAC Games.

 "Insofar as netball is concerned, we at the JOA understood that in order to become a resident of the household of multi-sport games of the Olympic movement, the sport had to muscle its way to first in the line and present, persuasively, credentials for occupancy,” Samuda explained.

Jamaica’s netball pedigree is well known and in the run-up to the 2023 San Salvador CAC Games, the JOA and Netball Jamaica in partnership with Centro Caribe Sports, will be hosting educational workshops and training sessions for teams from Spanish-speaking countries with a view to enhancing their skill sets and technical competencies in the sport.

"What is the value of knowledge and expertise if they're not shared in creating greater capital and opportunities for others in the sporting fraternity?" JOA Secretary-General and CEO Foster queried.

With the withdrawal of Panama City as host of the games, the Executive Board of Centro Caribe Sports moved quickly to re-start the bidding process to secure an alternative host and recently formalized the contract with the Government of the Republic of El Salvador, the municipality of San Salvador and the Local Organizing Committee.

The Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) is brimming with pride over the advances made in the discipline of artistic swimming.

Jamaica’s Olympic medalists and their coaches are set for a financial windfall under what the Jamaica Olympic Association has dubbed an ‘Olympic Rewards Programme’ worth J$41 million. The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) contributed $J5m to the programme while Supreme Ventures Foundation and Mayberry Investments, contributed JS30m and J$6m, respectively.

One US dollar is approximately J$155.

The money is to be placed in individual investment accounts at Mayberry Investments for a period of three years or until the athlete’s retirement from track and field, whichever comes first. At the end of the period, the athlete decides whether to cash in their investments or maintain his or her account.

Under the programme, a gold medalist gets J$6 million, a silver medalist gets J$4 million while a bronze medal winner will be rewarded with J$2 million.

A similar amount will be maintained for the relays but for the relay gold medalists, the J$6 million will be shared among members while for the women’s 4x400 metres relay team that placed third, J$2 million will be shared among the members of the squad.

Coaches will also be rewarded for their work. J$1 million will go to a coach whose athlete won a gold medal, $750,000 for the coach whose athlete won a silver medal and $500,000 for the coach whose athlete won a bronze medal.

The rewards programme, JOA President Christopher Samuda said is part of a broader vision of the association.

“For the Jamaica Olympic Association this partnership represents critical aspects of our vision for the future of the business of sport and emphasizes our conviction that the lives of athletes and coaches matter beyond the present,” Samuda said. 

“The Jamaica Olympic Association, Supreme Ventures Limited and Mayberry Investments Limited have come together in an investment trilogy, at the heart of which are Jamaica's athletes and coaches and the strategy of which resides in financial prudence and security.”

Meanwhile, Peter McConnell, Chairman, Supreme Ventures Foundation, praised the athletes for their success. “We are incredibly proud of all athletes who have ever represented Jamaica on the world stage, and we are grateful to have this opportunity to reward this year’s cohort of medalists,” he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Christopher Berry, the Executive Chairman of Mayberry Investments Limited.

“Mayberry wishes to congratulate all the athletes that represented us at the Olympics and all of the people who worked so hard to make this national effort yet another success,” he said.

Elaine Thompson won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m  at the Olympic Games while Hansle Parchment won gold in the 100m hurdles. Meanwhile, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a silver medal in the 100m and a gold medal as a member of the 4x100m team. Shericka Jackson won a bronze medal in the 100m and gold as a member of the 4x100m that also included Briana Williams. Natasha Morrison and Remona Burchell were alternates.

Megan Tapper won a bronze medal in the 100m hurdles.

Jackson, Candice McLeod, Roneisha McGregor, Tovea Jenkins, Junelle Bromfield and Stacy-Ann Williams comprised the 4x400m relay squad.

 

 

The very successful staging of the inaugural Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA)/Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) ‘Olympic Destiny’ track and field series has arrested the attention of the global sporting fraternity in a manner that has left experts shouting "bravo".

In a publication, World Athletics stated that the series is "aptly named JOA/JAAA ‘Olympic Destiny’. The Washington Post newspaper in the United States also had the event on its radar with a report on the explosive world-leading 10.63 performance of sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100 metres.

Performances during the series were also captured in traditional and new media entities worldwide.

Although only in its first year, ‘Olympic Destiny’ has already earned a reputation locally and internationally as a standard-bearer in track and field, which the JOA and its member association, the JAAA, intend to guard jealously.

Contemplating current health challenges and risks and looking to the future, President of the JOA, Christopher Samuda, in a post-event interview, stated that, "Olympic Destiny gave athletes a new and inspired lease on life amidst the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national senior trials will be the 'Olympic Verdict' as athletes vie for coveted places at the pinnacle multi-sport the Olympic Games”.

The description, ‘Olympic Verdict’, of the national senior trials, is on point as several events, including the 100m, 200m, 110m hurdles and the triple jump for both men and women, as well as the discus for men, are expected to be competitive and showstoppers.

Secretary-General and CEO of the JOA, Ryan Foster, in anticipating keen contests, remarked that "on D-day at the national senior trials, diplomacy will somewhat give way to assertive rivalry for at the end of it all there will be one verdict, which performances will deliver.”

This year's national senior trials between June 24 and 27 at the National Stadium is indeed the ‘Olympic Verdict’ as "emerging generations will meet experienced campaigners in a decider that will be healthy for the sport, thrilling for the fans and ensure succession," Foster said.

The jury will certainly not be out where the staging of future Destiny series is concerned as the JOA intends to roll out ‘Olympic Destiny’ in 2022 and beyond in athletics and other sports.

"Olympic Destiny is now a staple on the calendar as we have earmarked the summer and winter Games as dramatic watershed events of exciting times ahead of us,'' Samuda declared.

If the significant turnout of athletes and the notable performances are anything to go by, the ‘Olympic Destiny’ Series will become not only a local product of Olympism but an international asset.

 

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