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 Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (GOC) recently signed a historic Sports Co-operation Agreement that will see both bodies cooperating in the areas of applied sport sciences, sports medicine, technology, Olympic values, anti-doping, community and recreational sport, as well as sports administration.

The agreement will also facilitate the exchange of athletes and coaches who will benefit from educational and technical programmes.

The agreement was signed during the XXV General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committee (ANOC) in Greece.

JOA President Christopher Samuda declared that the signing of the agreement signifies an abiding commitment from the JOA and GOC to deepen their already strong bi-lateral relationship under which athletes, coaches, administrators and member federations will benefit from initiatives of capacity building and institutional strengthening, in research, training and education, sports-specific skills and the sciences and technology of sport.

President of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Gerardo Aguirre, also endorsed the historic partnership in regional sporting history.

"For us, Guatemala's NOC, we identified this as an opportunity to generate a connection with sport and athletes between Jamaica and Guatemala,” he said.

“Jamaica has specific strengths in sport and Guatemala has developed others, making these useful for us all to share. Therefore, this makes the signing of this agreement a marvellous opportunity and from it can come various avenues of activities so that Jamaican and Guatemalan athletes can come together."

Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Ryan Foster, who announced the agreement between the two Olympic organizations, explained that both Olympic bodies understand that efforts and relationships in sport must first be athlete-centric and dedicated.

 “Then, for stakeholders' engagement and empowerment and this agreement which we have signed is written testimony of that fact and the reality that friendships and unity in sport defy language barriers and the breadth of seas and oceans," he said.

Director of International Affairs of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Neville Steins, emphasized the importance and high value of the agreement in the context of bringing “not only our countries together through sport, but more still, bringing together the Caribbean and Central America in eliminating the absence of communication owing to language differences through the use of sport and thus bring our countries' athletes together for the common good."

The JOA's foreign policy supports strong and strategic partnerships in providing enabling opportunities for athletes, coaches and administrators.

 "The JOA will continue to build strong partnerships across borders and continents. We started in December 2017 when we inked in Japan with the Tottori Prefecture Government an agreement which is facilitating collaboration beyond the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as for us sport development and diplomacy go beyond events and are life-changing experiences spanning generations. We will continue in earnest as sport is an enabler, equalizer and unifier" President Samuda said.

More Sports On Board for the Cali Junior Pan-American Games

The list of sports in which Jamaica will be represented at the first-ever Junior Pan-American Games in Cali, Colombia, continues to grow with the latest additions being Skateboarding, Squash and Archery.

President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, describes the strong showing as "proof positive that the JOA's policy of equal opportunity, parity in investment and empowering the next-generation is encouraging and having results."

Representation now stands at a historic 12 sports, by far the largest number of sports that the local Olympic movement has ever had at a multi-sport regional or international games.

This fact has prompted President Samuda to say: "For us, at the JOA, strength lies in numbers, strength lies in a wealth of talent and strength lies in the conviction that today's real-time investment is tomorrow's history-making dividends."

Preparation for Cali is on in earnest and, for the Samuda-led administration, management of games generally has become a "business of sport" undertaking.

Commenting on the new approach, JOA Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, said: "Investing in and banking on the inflow of talent, increasing the numbers on the books,  creating opportunities for exponential growth and having a professional management team to  manage flow and outflow of games is our business at the JOA."

The positive response of the juniors augurs well for the future of the Olympic movement which is founded on the fundamental principles of inclusion and allowing each athlete the opportunity to transition to the international stage where, Secretary-General Foster stated, "history awaits those who had the discipline to train and the present will to succeed."

The Cali games will be held between November 25 and December 5 and "it will provide Jamaica's juniors and those of the America's opportunities to test their credentials for the 2023 Pan-American Games with the hope of graduating to the finale in 2024 in Paris" President Samuda stated.

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange has said that every arriving athlete from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be greeted by her on arrival.

The Jamaica Football Federation has conveyed a message of congratulations to Christopher Samuda who was overwhelmingly returned as president of the Jamaica Olympic Association during an Extraordinary Annual General Meeting on Saturday.

The noted attorney will serve another four-year term after handsomely defeating challenger Alan Beckford 40-10 in the voting.

The significance of the vote of confidence was not lost on the JFF.

“The Jamaica Football Federation heartily congratulates Mr Christopher Samuda on his re-election as President of the Jamaica Olympic Association,” it said in a statement.

“The overwhelming support given to his re-election is an indication of the quality of leadership he has given, especially as he has extended the support of the JOA to many non-traditional sporting entities even whilst maintaining guidance to the traditional sports.

“The JFF has benefitted in many ways from his stewardship in particular in the recharging of professional football and overall guidance on other initiatives. We extend congratulations to the entire executive including our own Vice President Raymond Anderson and the first female 1st Vice- President of the JOA, Jacqueline Cowan. We look forward to forging an even stronger working relationship with the JOA going forward.”

Cowan of the Jamaica Volleyball Association defeated incumbent first Vice-President Nelson Stokes 29-11.

Robert Scott is the second vice-president after defeating Ian Forbes, 33-17.

Nichole Case was unopposed as treasurer.

The Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange praised Veronica Campbell-Brown for her outstanding career as Jamaica’s decorated athlete.

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.

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.

 

A berth at this year's summer Tokyo Olympic games is undoubtedly on the radar of Jamaica's top table tennis players, Simon Tomlinson and Kane Watson, who both continue to show impressive form at the international camp in Broward, Florida, where they are currently in training for the Olympic qualifiers later this month in Argentina.

Ever since COVID-19 took real effect on the Jamaican landscape around March 2020, the local sporting fraternity has taken a battering, with the vast majority of disciplines forced off the playground and their architects, the sportsmen and sportswomen, unable to parade their skills.

A record number of coaches across the spectrum of sports have responded to the call of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) in respect of a hi-level coaches' course, which will be delivered by Panam Sports in partnership with the Canadian Coaching Association.

 More than 70 stakeholders have registered their commitment to pursue the course, which will cover Coaching Philosophy and Leadership, Advanced Performance Planning, Energy Systems and Physiology, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Psychology, Advanced Injury Prevention and Recovery Strategies and High-Performance Analysis.

 The call by JOA is in keeping with its developmental strategies of which education and training are critical elements. In a communique to member federations and stakeholders concerning the course, JOA President, Christopher Samuda, made clear that the game plan of the governing body is "to build capacity for today's feats and tomorrow's legacies".

 The course is part of a suite of educational courses that the apex body is continuing to make accessible to stakeholders and supports the Advanced Sports Management Course (ASMC) which the JOA will, for the first time in its history, make available to a cohort in the Diaspora.

 There has never been a response of this magnitude by the sporting fraternity to any of its coaching initiatives.

In applauding the tremendous response to the coaches' course and the ASMC - which continues to be over-subscribed - JOA Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster, said: "Our members and stakeholders have not only seized the JOA's vision of the value of education and training but have embraced the known principle that an investment in education pays the best dividends in your working life and is your pension in your twilight years."

The national association for Olympic and non-Olympic sports is driven in creating and investing in lifelong skills and knowledge-based and technically equipped stakeholders. 

Samuda, in commenting on the strategic direction of JOA, stated: "The creation of a sports industry demands a physical and socio-economic infrastructure that is based on viable investments in the human capital and not on hand-outs, for the latter creates a dependency while the former promotes independence and mastery."

 Mastery, in the various disciplines of sport, is the business of the JOA which quite recently also made two calls for opportunities in pursuing master's degrees. The Master of Arts (MA), a postgraduate degree in Sports, Ethics and Integrity, and the Master of Sport Administration (MSP), a postgraduate degree in organizational management, sports marketing and research, are both tenable at international universities.

They will inaugurate an initiative that the JOA has branded ‘Olympic EduPower’ that will provide masters and doctoral educational opportunities for members and stakeholders in empowering them.

 “If sport is to become a sustainable business then the mind must first have and make an educated appointment with destiny, which the body will then be conditioned to keep it," said Samuda.

 Reflecting on Foster's comment last month when announcing that the JOA's pioneering Internship Programme, Samuda said it “is all about self-actualisation and a personal call to own your future in sport”.

 The Internship Programme is currently underway at Olympic Manor, the headquarters of the JOA.

 The JOA will create Olympic history locally, and arguably globally when later this year it makes its Internship Programme available to Jamaicans in the Diaspora. It will also in the second quarter of this year, through its educational ‘Stamina’ forum series roll-out, in collaboration with international federations, customized courses for administrators and coaches as part of its investment in education.

 

The Jamaica Olympic Association and the Olympians Association of Jamaica have paid tribute to Olympian Les Laing, who died on the weekend.

Laing, who was born in Linstead, St Catherine on February 19, 1925, represented Jamaica at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics was a member of the famed 4x400m relay team that won gold in Helsinki. He is the third member of the iconic quartet to have died leaving behind George Rhoden as the only surviving member.

Arthur Wint died in 1992 while Herb McKenley passed in 2007.

“The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) mourns the loss of a member of our household but celebrates the life he lived inspiringly on the track which mirrored the personality of this son of Linstead,” the JOA said in a statement released on Sunday.

“Leslie Alphonso Laing's feats as an Olympian are well documented and we salute him with grateful hands. But more importantly, it is the spirit of the gentlemen which has inspirited generations of athletes and earned the abiding respect of a nation.

“In a world where recorded statistics of sporting achievements are understandably cited in praise of men, the JOA reflects deeply and respectfully on Laing's self-sacrificial service to his country and the soul of his ground-breaking feet.”

Meanwhile, the OAJ described Laing as a hero.

OAJ President Marvin Anderson said he one of the nation's Olympic pioneers.

“Arthur Wint, Laing, Herb McKenley and George Rhoden set a world record 3 minutes 03.9 seconds to defeat a top-class US team at the Games in London,” Anderson said. "His heroic relay run of 47 seconds flat was all the more remarkable because he was a specialist 200-metres man."

Laing, Anderson said, leaves behind a substantial legacy from his days on the track.

“While many Jamaican track stars emerged from the US college circuit, the Linstead-native rose to prominence in Britain as a member of the Polytechnic Harriers Club in London. Fittingly, he made his Olympic debut in that city in 1948, placing sixth in the 200 metres final with McKenley fourth.

 “An injury to Wint in the 4x400 final prompted Laing and his teammates to vow to return and win four years later in Helsinki, Finland. Running faster in every round, Laing became the first Jamaican to reach an Olympic sprint final twice and improved his finish to fifth place. Despite his short stature, he delivered a stout-hearted second leg run to help Jamaica to fulfil the promise made in London.”

 Laing retired after a 1954 season when he narrowly missed taking the sprint double at the CAC Games in Mexico City where he won the 200 and took silver in the 100m.

Laing was recognized by the respected US publication TRACK AND FIELD NEWS, which listed him in its annual world rankings three times - at number 9 in 1948, number 10 in 1949 and at number 9 once more in 1953.

"His accomplishments paved the way for Jamaica in the sprints," Anderson said.

 “In fact, no other Jamaican would reach back-to-back Olympic 200m finals until Don Quarrie did it in 1976 and 1980. Mr Laing was a pioneer who showed us what was possible for us in the 200 and thanks to the start he provided, Jamaica has excelled in that event."

Laing was married to 1948 high jump finalist Carmen Phipps.

 

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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