Garth Gayle, President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association and Jamaica’s sports minister Olivia Grange have hailed Elaine Thompson-Herah on her historic win of the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award on Sunday.

No Jamaican female athlete had ever taken home the prestigious award that began in 2000.

The Jamaican sprint queen won on the back of her historic achievements last summer when she became the first woman in Olympic history to win the 100/200m sprint double at consecutive Olympic Games and added a third gold medal to her trophy case when she ran the second leg of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that won in a national record of 41.02.

She would go on to create even more history when she ran times of 10.54 to become the second-fastest woman of all time while winning the 100m in Eugene, Oregon, and then added times of 10.64 and 10.65 to be the only woman to run faster than 10.7 on four occasions.

Her achievements topped USA’s Allyson Felix (athletics), Australia’s Ashleigh Barty (tennis), Australia’s Emma McKeon (swimming) and USA’s Katie Ledecky and drew praise from the JAAA and the Jamaican government.

"Becoming the second Jamaican and the first female to win the prestigious Laureus Award is a significant achievement for Elaine and by extension Jamaica,” said Gayle.

“This is also a boost for women in track and field and other sports to aim for the highest. We are particularly proud of Elaine for her continuous achievements on and off the track. This definitely sets the tone for a great year for all our athletes.”

Meanwhile, in a missive from the United Kingdom where she will launch the Jamaica 60 programme of activities in the United Kingdom on Monday evening, Minister Grange said Thompson-Herah was most deserving of the honour of “best athlete in the world”.

“This latest success for the fastest woman alive is a tribute to Thompson-Herah’s hard work and sacrifice,” Minister Grange said.

Thompson-Herah is the second Jamaican to win the award. Usain Bolt, won the Laureus Sportsman of the Year in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2017.

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange has called for private sector support for the Primary Schools Athletics Championships that return on May 26 after a two-year absence.

The minister made the appeal during Tuesday’s launch of the event at the National Stadium in Kingston, which hosted the 49th Carifta Games that concluded on Monday.

“Between May 2 and 4 we will have the Eastern Championships at Stadium East to start us off, followed by the Central Championships between May 9 and11 at the GC Foster College, then the Western Championships at STETHS between May 12 and14 culminating with the grand finale, the inaugural staging of the National Athletics Junior Championships for Boys and Girls in the National Stadium from May 26 to May 28,” the minister said in outlining the schedule for the build-up to the championships. 

 “I am making an appeal to the private sector to provide sponsorship for these Championships in the same way support is given to the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships. There will be as many as 500 participating schools and so I am inviting the private sector to come on board now with support for the primary-level event.”

The minister said the government has invested a lot in the development of sports in the country but it is unable to go it alone, hence the need for additional support for the championship that has proven to be the crucible from which so many of Jamaica’s athletic stars have emerged.

“Over time, the Government has invested millions of dollars at the primary school level in track and field and (Institute of Sports) INSPORTS can take credit for laying the foundation on which the careers of many of our outstanding athletes have been built,” she said.

“Athletes the likes of World and Olympic 100m gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic and World 400m hurdles champion Melaine Walker, Olympic bronze medalist, Warren Weir, 2008 Olympic 100m silver and 200m bronze medalist Kerron Stewart, CARIFTA Games Under-17 200m champion and record-holder Jazeel Murphy, and 2007 World Youth 200m champion Ramone McKenzie and many others.

“More recent stand-out athletes to have competed at Primary School Champs have been Christopher Taylor, Tyreke Wilson, Raheem Chambers and Brianna Lyston. In the just-concluded CARIFTA Games, Jamaica won a record 92 medals. It begins at INSPORTS.”

 

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honorable Olivia Grange, has welcomed the return to ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships with spectators.

“In 2021, even though CHAMPS was staged, it was done behind closed doors.  This resulted in losses of $70,000,000.00.  For this year, ISSA projects that their earnings will return to pre-COVID figures despite the significant increase in inflation,” said Minister Grange in a statement issued on Monday.

She also explained how Jamaica derives significant economic benefit from what is the premier secondary school athletic championship in the world.  

“Because of the long and distinguished legacy of CHAMPS, there is a consistent increase in visitor arrival to Jamaica during the period leading up to the mega event.  While the support from high school alumni and Jamaicans in the diaspora who invest in and return to Jamaica for Champs is unquantified at this time, there is a marked stimulation in the economy which can be attributed to CHAMPS,” said Minister Grange.

“The city of Kingston, for example, benefits from an increase in occupancy of hotels, guesthouses, AIR BnB type facilities and private homes.  This is also reflected in the local retail and transportation sectors. Through CHAMPS, there is both a direct and indirect co-relation to educational and employment opportunities. We also see a lot of merchandising from the schools; there’s the broadcasting revenue, there are stage, light and sound, there are opportunities for the small peanut vendors as well,” she added.

The 2022 edition of Champs gets underway Tuesday and runs until April 9 at the National stadium.

“Welcome back CHAMPS; welcome back spectators. Let the Games begin,” said Minister Grange.

 

Jamaica’s Sports Minister the Hon. Olivia Grange has announced that as part of the celebrations for Jamaica 60th Independence Anniversary, the government will be providing scholarships for 60 athletes.

“We will be awarding sixty scholarships to 60 athletes. ‘Sixty for 60’. Details will be announced at a later date,” she said while speaking at the official launch of the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships on Tuesday.

“In 2020, after the decision was made to cancel CHAMPS, there was major disappointment by athletes, parents, coaches, schools, alumni and every sport-loving Jamaican.  Many were uncertain about last year’s staging of Champs but again this team of school principals organized themselves within the very strict protocols outlined and produced a spectacular show with Jamaica College and Edwin Allen High School winning the titles,” added Grange while praising ISSA for continuing to set a very high standard in terms of sports organization and management and each year.

The Sports Minister also highlighted the importance of CHAMPS. 

“The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships has become a special calendar event not only for Jamaicans but for other sport enthusiasts, administrators, athletes, school groups and media houses and talent scouts all over the world. This speaks to the development of the Championships and indicates the tremendous growth in our high school programmes, coached primarily by our home-grown coaches.  The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships has been marked as the foundation of Jamaica’s athletic prowess and with the improvements in the field events, we are assured that the future of track and field in Jamaica is secure,” she said.

“There is another reason why Champs this year is special.  Just one week after Champs, Jamaica will be hosting CARIFTA.  Many of the athletes from Champs are expected to be on show again at CARIFTA, where the President of World Athletics Lord Sebastian Coe has confirmed his attendance,” she added.

Grange went on to recognize long-time sponsors of CHAMPS, GraceKennedy, and then offer a final word of encouragement to the athletes who will be competing in the 2022 edition.

“I am proud to acknowledge GraceKennedy who has been title sponsors of the Boys and Girls Championships since 2007 and will continue until 2025.  Even with the uncertainties of the pandemic, they have been unwavering in their support. To all the other sponsors thank you, you continue to exhibit goodwill and I want to assure you that no investment in our youth is wasted,” she said.

“Whether you become a professional sportsman or woman, or continue to compete for the love of the sport, or use your talent as a bargaining tool to advance your educational aspirations, or never participate in another track and field event; the lessons you learn in training and in competition must serve you through life,” Grange added.

 

 

 

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange says the Government is rewarding $55 million to athletes, coaches, and officials who participated in the recent Summer and Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympics.

“Jamaica is joining other countries which reward those who represent them at the Olympics with honorariums,” Minister Grange said while speaking at the official launch of the 2022 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium on Monday.

“Appreciation Grants will be for those representing Jamaica at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The level of awards was determined based on individual placement, from gold medal winner to non-finalist, coaches, and other supporting staff. Ninety-three persons will be rewarded, valued at approximately $55M,” she added.

She then broke down how the money would be divided.

“The honorariums are $1.65 million for each gold medal won; $1.35 million for each silver medal won and $800,000.00 for each bronze medal won. The honorarium is $850,000 for the relay gold. Finalists are receiving $600,000.00; relay finalists, $500,000; and non-finalists, $350,000. Coaches and massage therapists are getting $350,000 while team managers and doctors are getting $200,000,” Grange explained.

 

Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange has pledged JMD$10 million in support to the country’s Premier League clubs for the 2022 season.

Jamaica’s sports minister Olivia Grange has lauded Sara Misir, who created history recently by becoming the first Jamaican to compete in the Formula Woman Competition.

Plaudits have come in from Jamaica's sports minister and the Jamaica Olympic Association for Olympic champion Elaine Thompson who was named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year earlier today in Monaco.

Olivia Grange,  Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, said it did not come as a surprise that Elaine Thompson-Herah would have won the prestigious award.

 

The 29-year-old Jamaican, who successfully defended both 100m and 200m titles she first won at Rio 2016 came out on top of a quality field of candidates that included the USA’s Sydney McLaughlin, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan and Venezuala’s Yulimar Rojas, to win her first AOY award.

“We expected it,” Minister Grange said in a statement.

“This nation is so happy for Elaine and proud of her for winning the top award for women in track and field for 2021. But she put her hands up with her performances in the Olympics and World Games. In fact, she has enjoyed one of the finest sprint seasons in history, retaining her 100m and 200m titles in 10.61 seconds and 21.53 seconds in Tokyo as well as adding another gold medal to her collection in the 4x100m relay, which she and her colleagues won in a national record time of 41.02 seconds.

“Elaine did not just stop there; in her first race after the Olympics, she won the 100m in a world-leading time of 10.54 seconds which makes her second on the all-time list for the 100m and 200m.”

The minister said Thompson-Herah joins two other Jamaican greats to have won the prestigious award from the sports’ world-governing body.

“ It is so great, Elaine now makes it a trio of Female Athletes of the Year for Jamaica; following in the footsteps of Merlene Ottey and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce,” Minister Grange said.

“We salute Elaine Thompson-Herah. She is just awesome!” 

 JOA President Christopher Samuda described the accomplishment as a reward for her outstanding year.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) congratulates our Olympian, Elaine Thompson-Herah, for being selected Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics," Samuda said in a statement.
"It is indeed an admirable accomplishment, the reward for exemplary performances and a testimony to her valour in transforming the challenges of a year bedevilled with the
pandemic into inspiring feats.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association salutes her and exhorts her to continue to be driven in her athletic pilgrimage of excellence." 

Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah said winning the coveted award was the best way to end her historic season. Posting on her social media pages, the fastest woman alive said, “Way to cap off a magnificent historic season with my first world Athletics athlete of the year award.

“I am just amazed with how the Lord piloted me throughout this year.”

She expressed gratitude to her supporters and sponsors who were behind her on the historic journey.”

“Thanks to all my sponsors @ncbjamaica @flowjamaica and @nike for your continued support. Thanks to all my longstanding supporters family, friends and fans always with me through the ups and downs love you all.”

 

Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has expressed her regrets of the news of the passing of former Reggae Boyz team doctor Carlton Fraser, who died in a Florida hospital on Sunday, November 21, at the age of 74.

Fraser, who was affectionately known as “Pee Wee” was also the former physician of Reggae icon Bob Marley.

“It came as a shock to me to hear that “Pee Wee” died. His service was outstanding as a doctor to the Reggae Boyz and to Bob Marley, who for many years was not only his patient but was his close friend,” Minister Grange said.

“In this way, one might say that ‘Pee Wee’, for life, was a major contributor to both sport and entertainment.

“He will also be remembered for being the only Rasta doctor of his time and a member of Twelve Tribes of Israel Rastafari religious group.  I extend my deepest sympathy to his family, friends, former associates at the Jamaica Football Federation and to the members of Twelve Tribes.

“Rest well, “Pee Wee”.”

 

Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports says she supports the country’s intention to host the 2022 Carifta Games but warns that that will only happen once the necessary approvals and required funding are achieved.

President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) had announced that his association had been given the green light to host the Games next Easter during a Special Congress of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association on Saturday.

Jamaica’s move came after Guyana, which was supposed to host in 2022, indicated that it would be unable to fulfil its obligation.

On Wednesday, Minister Grange appeared to back Gayle saying it would be a timely venture considering that Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence in 2022.

“I am in full support of Jamaica hosting the 2022 Carifta Games as a part of the country’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with the National Stadium in Kingston being the venue,” she said about the competition that would take place between April 16 – 18.

“When news came that the selected host for 2022, Guyana, was unable to fulfil the obligation, it was felt that the only country which could step up to the plate at such short notice would be Jamaica. Not just because of the ongoing dominance of our athletes, but because of our experience in staging similar events with athletes in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Following the cancellation of the 110-year-old ISSA Boys and Girls Championships because of the pandemic in March 2020, Jamaica successfully staged the championships in May and then the National Athletic Championships in June. The island also hosted several track meets including the Jamaica Olympic Association-backed Olympic Destiny Series leading up to the national championships.

“We are very proud of the successful staging of the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships (CHAMPS) earlier this year. We have no doubt that we are equal to the task of staging the Carifta Games next year,” Minister Grange said.

“With the cancellation of this important event (Carifta) for 2020 and 2021, junior athletes have missed out on the opportunity to gauge where they are at this critical stage of their development. Therefore, I feel that no effort should be spared in us trying to host the 2022 event.

“I have indicated to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) that as Minister I would do my best to assist in making it possible. Carifta is of course the premier event for junior athletes across the CARICOM region with athletes competing in two age categories: under-17 and under-20.”

However, the minister was quick to indicate that all the necessary elements needed to be in place before the government would be able to give its full blessing.

“I must say, however, that although Jamaica is interested in hosting the event, it is subject to several approvals and sign-offs as well as the requisite funding. The Ministry is therefore working very closely with the JAAA and NCACAC to satisfy all the requirements in order for me to make an official announcement,” she said.

 “It is in our best interest to do everything to have the Games held here.  Among all the other good reasons, our tourism, hotels in Kingston in particular, will definitely benefit.”  

 

Following the cancellation of the Carifta Games in Bermuda earlier this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jamaica is in line to host the Games during the Easter Weekend in 2022.

The development comes as Garth Gayle, President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) announced at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Special Congress on Saturday, that Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange has given a green light to the Games.

According to Gayle, Minister Grange is of the view that hosting the Carifta Games would be an ideal fit with the government’s plans for a year-long celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee as an independent nation.

The Carifta Games were scheduled to be held in Bermuda earlier this year but was eventually cancelled because of spikes in the spread of the Covid-19 virus in that country. Usually held during the Easter weekend, the Games were first moved to July 2-4 and then to August 13-15 before it was eventually cancelled in May.

Jamaica last hosted the Carifta Games in 2011.

Members of Craig Butler’s Phoenix Football Academy, who play at the national and international level, are likely to be included under Jamaica’s Athletes Insurance Plan, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange announced on Saturday.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the three-time gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan in August, is to be rewarded with a Jamaican diplomatic passport, Minister Olivia Grange announced on Wednesday.

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

Condolence messages continue to pour in locally and from across the region in reaction to the sudden passing of the immediate past president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) Godfrey Lothian on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old sports administrator reportedly suffered from a heart attack at his home Tuesday morning and was declared dead at the hospital sending the table tennis, cricket and football fraternities into shock. Lothian served three terms as JTTA President from 2013 to 2019. He was also a member of the board of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

He also served the sport of football for decades.

As such, the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) said it extended its deepest condolences to the President of Greenwich Town FC and the family of Godfrey Lothian.

“For over 30 years he had a passion for youth and grassroots programmes within the Greenwich Town Football community.

President of KSAFA Wayne Shaw highlighted that "Lothian was a community man who wanted to see the best for the youth. His contribution to football will be remembered".

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange also expressed her surprise at the sudden passing of the respected administrator.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contribution will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” the minister said.

The Jamaica Cricket Association also reacted to the news.

“Director Lothian served as the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association. He also served as a director on the JCA’s board. On behalf of the JCA and the wider cricket, we once again extend condolences and offer continuous prayer,” the JCA said in a statement.

However, the local and regional table tennis was the hardest hit fraternity.

News of Lothian’s death sparked messages of sympathy from table tennis associations from across the Caribbean including the International Table Tennis Federation, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Martinique, Bonaire, Suriname, St Vincent and the Cayman Islands.

 Closer home,  Lothian helped bring the sport back from obscurity by focusing on youth development and engaged scores of children and their parents.

Andrew Lue, the current JTTA president said he was both shocked and saddened by the news of Lothian’s death. “I learnt a lot from him,” Lue said. “This is shocking. We had our differences but I would not wish this on anyone.”

 Natalie Johnson a former manager of the Juniors National team, under Lothian’s presidency, said she was in disbelief.

“His passing is a real shock and my heart goes out to his family,” she said.

“I got involved with the table-tennis community because of my son Azizi. I can categorically say that under Mr Lothian leadership the juniors excelled to the level where they competed internationally. He ensured that the juniors were exposed every chance he got. May his soul rest in peace."

National player Kane Watson said Lothian had a strong following and people who didn’t see things his way but he was committed to the cause and worked hard. “He wanted better for table tennis,” Watson said.

Klan Bell-Lewis, the mother of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis, who represent Jamaica at the junior level, said Lothian made significant contributions to the sport.

"As a parent of girls, I am appreciative of Mr Lothian and his administration for creating a space where girls were welcomed and encouraged within the sport. His contribution to youth development through table tennis is significant," she said.

Lewis's daughter, Tsenaye, a member of the national squad from 2016-2019, described the late president as a man of vision.

“Rest in peace, Mr Lothian. He was a visionary organizer and he had a lot of hopes for the junior players. May his legacy live on."

 

 

 

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