Several Jamaican sports teams have qualified for the El Salvador Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games set for June 2023 and the Santiago Pan American Game, scheduled for October next year.
The male and female rugby teams as well as the male hockey team have already cemented their places, and the Jamaican netball team – ‘The Sunshine Girls’ – will make a historic appearance at the sport’s inaugural staging.
Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda, while underscoring the imperative of providing Jamaica’s youth with a menu of choices in sport, said: “Increasing the number of sports at which Jamaica is represented on the international stage and deepening the pool of competitive talent are non-negotiable strategic objectives of the JOA as we engage our members in our ‘Sport for Excellence’ campaign.”
JOA continues to endorse Jamaican sports teams
In January 2023, the JOA will formally launch its “Highway to El Salvador and Santiago” campaign as it continues to make history in sport.
Financial backing is a critical element of success and the JOA continues to fund what some refer to as “minor sports” in a declared strategy of helping them to transition to the global stage.
Putting the apex body’s plan in perspective, JOA Secretary General and CEO Ryan Foster said: “A successful investment strategy in sport must be plural and not singular in its treatment of sport. It must be democratic and not centralise in it’s spend. It must be funnel and not tunnel visioned in capitalising talent and it must be innovative in yielding dividends and ensuring sustainability.”
With the 2024 Paris Olympic Games on the horizon, some may think that the JOA is treating the CAC and Pan American Games as dress rehearsals.
However, Foster said: “For the JOA, each game is a golden and equal opportunity for our citizens in sport to stake their claim to excellence.”
Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones, president of the Jamaica Boxing Association, in expressing his appreciation for the JOA’s commitment to the sport, said: “The fact that the JOA can once again come to our assistance to ensure that team Jamaica can be well represented is huge and we will do JOA proud.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by national surfing coach Icah Wilmot, and representatives from the Jamaica Hockey Federation and Jamaica Rugby Union.