JOA, JPA, USSA announce alliance to build sports-education agenda

By Sports Desk January 04, 2021
Members of the lead team of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) display the Protocol of Cooperation with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), following the virtual signing ceremony at the JOA headquarters in Kingston. They are (from left)  Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO, JOA and Director, JPA, Suzanne Harris-Henry, Secretary General, JPA, Christopher Samuda (second right), President, Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) and Carmen Patterson, Vice President, JPA.       Members of the lead team of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) display the Protocol of Cooperation with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), following the virtual signing ceremony at the JOA headquarters in Kingston. They are (from left) Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO, JOA and Director, JPA, Suzanne Harris-Henry, Secretary General, JPA, Christopher Samuda (second right), President, Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) and Carmen Patterson, Vice President, JPA. Collin Reid

Structures to advance the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) agenda for education and sport have been bolstered by a Protocol of Cooperation between the country’s apex body for sports, the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) and the United State Sports Academy (USSA).

Under terms of the agreement, the Academy will utilize the institution’s expertise and resources to aid Jamaica’s national sporting effort, which is already being upgraded with the JOA Scholarship and JOA Internship Programs that were launched last year.

Due to COVID-19, the recent historic signing ceremony was – for the USSA first-time - held virtually with the Academy faculty and staff on the institution’s campus in Daphne, Alabama, while the JOA and JPA partners signed in Jamaica.

The JOA and JPA team was led by President of both associations, Christopher Samuda and JPA Director and JOA Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster.

“This partnership places the JOA and JPA and USSA at the epicentre of sport and sports development, which is education,” said JOA President, Christopher Samuda.

“Education is indeed at the heart of this partnership as the JOA, JPA and the Academy work together for those who will be the beneficiaries of knowledge and understanding in the various disciplines in sport; disciplines such as sports management and studies, exercise science, sports coaching and recreation management,” added Samuda.

Within a 24-hour span, it was the second occasion marking an agreement with an international partner that was signed off by the JOA, adding to the 10-year historic Memorandum of Strategic Alliance with World Eleven Inc./Argentina Football Association (AFA), which will provide advantages offered by the AFA’s Technology Institute to the benefit of Jamaica’s football.

The USSA traditionally holds face-to-face signings with its international partners and until COVID-19 cases have declined to a safe level, the Academy’s programs will also be delivered online to students and athletes in Jamaica.

“In many ways, the event being conducted virtually is emblematic of the world of sports in 2020,” said Dr Thomas ‘TJ’ Rosandich, Academy President and CEO. “Before this past February, a signing ceremony for a Protocol for Cooperation between the Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica Paralympic Association and the Academy would have been conducted in Kingston (Jamaica) amidst sessions on program planning.

“We’ve all seen the changes to the sports profession at the local, regional, continental and global levels this year. However, I view this step today in signing this protocol as an affirmation of the belief that sports will recover and continue to play a major role in society in the days to come,” Dr Rosandich expressed.

 The Protocol of Cooperation marks the return of the institution’s post-secondary, non-degree programs to Jamaica for the first time in a decade.

 Samuda commented: “Cross fertilisation you may call it, cross-pollination, transfer of knowledge, however you may characterise this partnership that has come into being, what is clear is that sport has not only won the battle but the war and that we, the JOA, the JPA and the USSA are transforming qualitatively the game through education and giving sports a defining perspective of multilateral cooperation. Multilateral for this partnership will birth others in education as we here in Jamaica continue to build out the infrastructure in sport on a solid and secure foundation and create synergies across physical borders which cannot deny us the bond, which today has been established.”

Foster, the main driver behind the JOA’s Scholarship and Internship programmes, noted the JOA and JPA’s belief in empowerment through education and training and the legacy it creates for athletes, administrators and other professionals in sports.

“The opportunities that are being made available through this partnership are pioneering - never witnessed before. Members and indeed the wider local fraternity of sport will have more options to expand and broaden their capabilities through the various programmes that will be offered at the bachelor, post-graduate and doctoral levels. With trademark vision and purpose, the JOA and JPA will unite with the USSA, which has a 40-year track record in the delivery of sports education across 65 countries, in creating an enviable model of sports collaboration and development,” said Foster.

“The signal work of Dr T.J. Rosandich, President and CEO of the USSA and his team in facilitating this historic partnership; the stewardship and foresight of President Samuda in identifying and negotiating opportunities for the benefit of our membership and stakeholders; and my own passion to build viable partnerships within and beyond Jamaica that give meaning to lives in sport are motivated by service, an opportunity for which our colleagues and ourselves are grateful,” Foster added.

The Academy has delivered post-secondary, non-degree sport education programs in some 67 countries over nearly half a century. Once COVID-19 cases decline to a safe level, the institution plans to teach its programs on the ground in Jamaica.

Dr Rosandich said: “Fortunately, the Academy is well prepared to provide the quality sports education and workforce development programs that the JOA and JPA are seeking.

“The Academy is already an acknowledged leader in providing online distance education programs. As conditions change and travel restrictions in Jamaica ease, the Academy is prepared to revert to onsite, face-to-face instruction,” said Dr Rosandich.

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  • JOA investment fuels Winter Olympics momentum JOA investment fuels Winter Olympics momentum

    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.

  • Another International Partnership for the JOA Another International Partnership for the JOA

    The strength of the brand of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the value of partnering with Jamaica's governing body for Olympic and non-Olympic sports have not escaped stakeholders of the sporting world.

    The latest global sport organization to initiate a partnership with the JOA is the International Jump Rope Union (IJRU) established in 1973 as the sole international governing body for the sport of jump rope and now with a membership of sixty-two countries spanning the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceana.

    At the recent virtual signing ceremony of a partnership agreement between the two leading organizations in sport, JOA President, Christopher Samuda, remarked that the execution "is more than an understanding and a union for it is a conviction on the part of two recognized sporting bodies that through sport and using sport an inspiring script for brotherhood beyond sport will be written."

    With diversity, inclusion, innovation and excellence as its mantra, the IJRU values are in sync with the JOA which has been broadening its sport agenda in both the summer and winter sports. JOA Secretary General and CEO, Ryan Foster, stated that the "partnership between the Jamaica Olympic Association and the International Jump Rope Union is a testimony that the business of sport has expanded beyond what one considers traditional as the status quo for sport is a thing of the past as the JOA embraces this union which is born in the concept of sport for all."

    IJRU President, Shaun Hamilton, hailed the historic signing and Jamaica's inclusion as "a tremendous moment" and in lauding the JOA said "Jamaica is a very influential space and place and we, the IJRU, are so happy that they will lead the way for other island nations to join us in this amazing community and family."

    The sport of jump rope has seen tremendous growth in the last decade as a competitive and recreational sport among the youth of the global village, an achievement which Samuda acknowledged as giving them "yet another option in a sport that combines, skill, dexterity, flexibility, speed and kinetics with concentration, focus, patience and determination; that marries physical attributes with mental attitudes and aptitudes in such a marvelous way so as to create human symmetry and aesthetics."

    As the JOA continues to fulfill its mission to engrain the values of sport in the Jamaican human landscape, Foster stated that "Sport is a way of life that not only transcends once unbreakable borders but impacts not only lives but livelihoods and the JOA is pleased to be a part of a journey which is rooted in the hallway of legacy creation that will form the basis from which many athletes will benefit for years to come."

    Under the partnership agreement, both sporting bodies will collaborate in developing the sport in Jamaica with IJRU hosting technical webinars and physical workshops for officials, coaches and judges as well as providing sport-related equipment and requisites. Further the parties will co-operate in developing a Caribbean strategy for the sport utilizing Jamaica as a springboard and hub for developmental initiatives in the region.

    "The JOA is determined to transform Jamrock to be a mecca for competition and recreational sport, sport education, sport entertainment and sport tourism," Samuda said.

    The hosts of the ceremony were Novelette Harris, Member Relations Manager of the JOA, and Marsha Bonhart, American television, newspaper and radio and award-winning journalist.

  • JOA Building Coaching Capacity JOA Building Coaching Capacity

    A record number of coaches, who were last year registered by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for a rigorous hi-level coaches' course hosted by the Pan Am Sports Organization (PASO), successfully completed and are on course to achieve international certification.

    Coaches from several sports including handball, badminton, judo, taekwondo, gymnastics, baseball, chess, volleyball, lawn tennis and track and field, completed, over six months, seven modules covering areas such as Coaching Philosophy and Leadership, Advanced Performance Planning, Energy Systems and Physiology, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Psychology, Advanced Injury Prevention, Recovery Strategies and High Performance Analysis.

    "Capacity, capability and competency are the three Cs in the educational trilogy of the JOA's empowerment agenda for our coaches who are really the starters, drivers and finishers of the assets of sport development which are our athletes" President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, commented on the success of the initiative.

    Participants across the spectrum of sport have lauded the initiative as "groundbreaking and a step by the JOA in the right direction."

    Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, was pleased with the level of support from the sporting federations and remarked "the response to JOA's call was deafening as it was instructive and demonstrates that coaches want to be and have become a part of the transformation being led by the JOA."

    The JOA last year inaugurated its historic, "Olympic Scholars," an athlete scholarship grant, under which several persons benefited from financial assistance in academic and career pursuits. "This is money giving currency and value to athletes and this is an investment the dividends of which are capitalizing sport and the human capital" Foster said.

    With a strong bi-lateral partnership with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), a strategic alliance World Eleven Inc and the Argentine Football Association and protocols of co-operation with regional and international stakeholders, "the JOA is instilling a culture of excellence in sport education and bringing the sciences and technology of sport into the equation of success." Samuda remarked.

    The JOA will later this year make a call for another coaches' hi-level course and it is expected that it will be oversubscribed as stakeholders in the sporting sector continue to seize opportunities which the governing body is creating.

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