A privilege to assist Elaine get her third gold — Fraser-Pryce

Sports August 19, 2016

4x100m relay team easily qualify for final, Elaine Thompson rested

Double Olympic 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won triple gold in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, is determined, along with other team members, to do everything in their powers to secure a third gold for Elaine Thompson. Thompson has already taken home the 100m and 200m crowns.

Fraser-Pryce gave her commitment after anchoring Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team to easily qualify for the final yesterday.

“Elaine deserves it. She works really hard and I am looking forward to seeing her come into the 4×100 team, and hopefully she can get that third gold medal. I always knew this was possible, so it’s a privilege to be able to assist in that manner. “It’s always an honour to represent the country and to run with the ladies. “I am just looking forward to the final now that we are in safely,” Fraser-Pryce said. With Thompson being rested following her golden exploits in the 100m and 200m, the quartet (in order) of Simone Facey, her cousin Sashalee Forbes, Veronica Campbell Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won conservatively in 41.79 seconds. Great Britain’s team of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Darryl Neita was second in 41.93 seconds. The Brits challenged Jamaica briefly before Fraser-Pryce gently stepped on the accelerator and moved away for a facile victory. Ukraine was third with 42.49 seconds. Veronica Campbell Brown, who was on the third leg before sending Fraser-Pryce on her way with a slight lead, was very happy with the team’s performance. “We came out here to just get to the final. We did that and we are just looking to that final run,” said a confident Campbell-Brown. Facey, who led off and passed to her cousin, said she is feeling good after the team secured their final berth. “Right now I am really happy that we were able to go out there as a team and execute and get to the final. “Can’t ask for anything else — we are through safely and that’s the important thing,” added Facey. Sashalee Forbes, who had the task of running against the 200m silver medallist Dafne Schippers on the backstretch, something which she did well, said she was under no pressure. “No nerves at all, I was very comfortable. “I know I just had to go out there and do what my coach asked of me and what Jamaica was expecting, so it was a great race,” said Forbes, who is expected to be replaced by Thompson for the final. Noticeably, too, was the absence of Christania Williams, who suffered from cramps in the final of the 100m. It is still uncetain at this time if Williams will run. The final is set today at 8:15 pm (Jamaica time).

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Lesson for Jamaica in Mr Usain Bolt’s historic feat

Sports August 18, 2016

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt waves his national flag as he celebrates winning the Men’s 100m final last night. (OLIVIER MORIN) It took Mr Usain Bolt a mere 41 strides in 9.81 illustrious seconds to further cement his name in Olympic history Sunday night. But the fact that the Jamaican became the first man ever to win three successive Olympic 100 metre titles has defined him beyond the Olympics. Mr Bolt is, no doubt, the greatest sprinter that the world has ever seen, and few would argue against the claim that he’s Earth’s most prodigious athlete.

While his world record runs in the 100 metres at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the London games in 2012 were special, Sunday night’s victory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was awe-inspiring because it represented the first step in his quest to win a historic ‘triple-triple’ combination of gold in the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay in three consecutive Olympics. Today, Mr Bolt will begin making the second step in that quest when he competes in the heats of his pet event, the 200 metres. He has told us that he hopes to smash his own world record — 19.19 seconds set in Berlin, Germany, in 2009. “I really want (the) 200m world record. If I can get a good rest after the semi-finals, there’s a possibility I could,” he told journalists after Sunday night’s 100 metres. “When it comes to the 200 metres, I’m much more confident. The 100 metres is always the hardest one for me.” Whether he will achieve that feat is left to be seen, but many people have come to learn that betting against him is risky. But even if Mr Bolt doesn’t break the record, the very fact that he has set it as another goal speaks to his fixity of purpose and his unwavering belief in his ability to succeed at the highest level. That, we hold, is one of the fundamental lessons that Mr Bolt’s life of hard work and determination offers to all Jamaicans. While we praise him for his achievements — and he deserves every accolade — all Jamaicans, we believe, must consider it their duty to work with the same level of discipline, as Mr Bolt does at is craft, in order to make Jamaica a better country. We reiterate that our leaders should move beyond the swift congratulatory messages that they revel in releasing, and work with the same determination displayed by Mr Bolt, and indeed our other athletes, to correct the ills of this country that we all love. That, we believe, would be one of the greatest tributes that this country could pay to someone like Mr Bolt, who has lifted Jamaica’s name globally since 2008 by totally dominating world athletics. For, as we have often stated in this space, if Jamaica can be this successful in world athletics, we can replicate that success in other areas. For now, though, we await with heightened anticipation the next five days of Olympic competition and hope that Mr Bolt will indeed achieve the goals he has set for himself. And, as we watch him compete, we should all consider ourselves fortunate to be witnessing history in the making.

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Something special in store

Sports August 18, 2016

Bolt jogs 19.78 secs in 200m semi-final; Gatlin, Blake, Ashmeade out. Usain Bolt (right) having an exchange with Canada’s Andre De Grasse. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

World record holder Usain Bolt literally jogged 19.78 (-0.3) seconds to easily win his 200m semi-final and looked to be on course for something special in the final of the event set for 8:30 pm (Jamaica time) today.

Bolt looked really awesome as he ran the first 100m before pulling up the handbrakes and eased home in a season’s best 19.78 seconds. “I definitely think I can go after the world record; I definitely feel that. It’s all about executing right; running the corner efficiently and coming in the straight and run the perfect race,” said Bolt. Bolt, who says he hopes to get lane six or seven which could be better for his world record attempt, refused to be beaten in the semi-final despite a strong effort from Canadian Andre De Grasse, who tried to sneak past him. De Grasse, for his effort, broke his national record timing 19.80 seconds. “I wanted to run slower, but De Grasse had other ideas. “He decided that he wanted to run fast, and I could actually see that he meant business,” Bolt said with a grin on his face. Bolt then confirmed that he is on track for the world record after his super display in this his third 200m of the season. “It means, I am on the right track, that I am energetic, and everything is going smooth. So, hopefully I get a top lane tomorrow (today) which is always better for me, because I am taller, so hopefully everything will go well,” he stated. Yohan Blake who won silver at the London Games in 2012, tied up badly in the straight and finished sixth in 20.37 seconds. American Justin Gatlin also surprisingly joined Blake on the sidelines, despite finishing third in 20.13 seconds. Gatlin was ninth fastest overall. Alonso Edwards of Panama took Gatlin’s heat in 20.07 seconds ahead of veteran Churandy Martina of the Netherlands with 20.10 seconds. “I felt good coming off the turn, then I couldn’t feel myself going home, I don’t know what happened in that part of the race,” Blake said. “I think that the lack of races posed a problem, but I don’t like to find excuses, so I just came out here and did what I had to do, but it wasn’t enough,” he noted. Nickel Ashmeade’s poor performance at the Olympics continued as he could only finish fourth in 20.31 seconds and failed to advance from semi-final one. A comfortable looking LaShawn Merritt of the United States eased to victory in 19.94 seconds ahead of the fast-closing Christophe Lemaitre of France in 20.01 seconds.

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#ReadySetRio: Today’s Olympics schedule for Jamaican athletes

Sports August 18, 2016

(FromL) Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte and South Africa’s L. J. Van Zyl compete in the Men’s 400m Hurdles Semifinal during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. (Photo: AFP) RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — The men’s and women’s 4x100m relays kick off today as Usain Bolt seeks to cement his legacy of sporting immortality with an Olympic triple-triple.

Meanwhile, national champion Annsert Whyte hunts the 400m gold at 10:00 am after lowering his personal best for the second time in two days, clocking 48.32 seconds to win his semi-final round yesterday. Then, Leah Nugent, Ristananna Tracey and Janieve Russell will all take their places in the 400m hurdles, the first time in the history of Jamaica’s participation in the Olympic Games (first time 1948) that the country will have this distinct honour. The stage is set for an epic race at 8:15 pm (Jamaica time) as Nugent is drawn in lane two; Tracey gets lane seven with Russell outside her in lane eight.

 MORNING SESSION 

Men’s Shot Put (Qualifications) 7:55 am

O’Dayne Richards

Women’s 4x100m Relay (Round One) 9:20 am

(Athletes: Simone Facey to Sashalee Forbes to Veronica Campbell-Brown to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce )

Men’s 4x100m Relay (Round One) 9:40 am

(Athletes: Jevaughn Minzie to Asafa Powell to Nickel Ashmeade to Kemar Bailey-Cole)

Men’s 400m Hurdles (Final)  10:00AM

Annsert Whyte

EVENING SESSION

Men’s Shot Put (Final) 6:30 pm

Women’s 400m Hurdles (Final) 8:15 pm

Leah Nugent, Ristananna Tracey and Janieve Russell

Men’s 200m (Final) 8:30 pm

Usain Bolt

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Grace Foods recalls curry products due to lead contamination

Sports August 17, 2016

KINGSTON, Jamaica – GraceKennedy Limited has announced the recall of batches of its curry products that were packaged in the United States and distributed within the US, Bermuda and the Bahamas. GraceKennedy said Wednesday that the recall has been initiated due to the presence of lead in some variants of curry products which former supplier Miami-based Oriental Packing Company, Inc produced for GraceKennedy Foods (USA) and other companies.

The following batches of curry products are being recalled:

Product Net Weight Best Before Date & Batch Number Grace Mild Jamaican Style Curry Powder in glass container – 2 oz; Best Before Date and Batch Number: BB 03/11/19 OPCLOT # 030716 and

BB 03/28/19 OPCLOT # 032516

Grace Mild Jamaican Style Curry Powder in glass container – 6 oz; Best Before Date and Batch Number: BB 03/11/19 OPCLOT # 030716

Grace Hot Jamaican Style Curry Powder in glass container – 2 oz; Best Before Date and Batch Number: BB 03/11/19 OPCLOT # 030716 and BB 03/28/19 OPCLOT # 032516

Grace Hot Jamaican Style Curry Powder in glass container – 6 oz; Best Before Date and Batch Number: BB 03/11/19 OPCLOT # 030716 and BB 04/11/19 OPCLOT # 040816

Grace Caribbean Tradition Hot Curry Powder in plastic container – 4 oz; Best Before Date and Batch Number: BB 12/14/19 OPCLOT # 121115; BB 12/14/19 OPCLOT # 120115; BB 03/11/19 OPCLOT # 030716; BB 03/28/19 OPCLOT # 032516; and BB 04/11/19 OPCLOT # 040816

Lead can accumulate in the body over time, and may cause serious and sometimes permanent adverse health consequences. To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with the products being recalled, GraceKennedy said in a news release.

Consumers who may have purchased the Grace curry products bearing the above best before dates and corresponding batch numbers, should not consume them, GraceKennedy advised. Instead consumers should return same to point of purchase, where the full cost will be refunded.

The best before dates and batch numbers can be found on the top of the product caps.

“GraceKennedy wishes to assure consumers that their safety is paramount and that providing safe, high quality products to our consumers remains our number one priority,” Ryan Mack, president and CEO of GraceKennedy Foods (USA), stated.

He added that the recall did not include any other batches of Grace Curry products.

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Lasco apologises, fires employee who posted controversial tweet

Sports August 17, 2016

Jamaica’s Omar McLeod celebrates winning the Men’s 110m Hurdles Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. (Photo: AFP) KINGSTON, Jamaica – Following last night’s gold medal performance by Omar McLeod at the Rio Olympics in Brazil, a controversial tweet was made from Lasco Distributors Limited’s Twitter handle in reference to the new Olympic 110-metre hurdles champion.

Facing heavy backlash on the social media website, the manufacturing, packaging and distribution company deleted the tweet and has since apologised. In a statement issued last night, the company also said they have fired the employee who posted the tweet. “Earlier this evening an unauthorised and offensive tweet was posted via our company account.

 We wish to sincerely apologise to our fans, friends, customers, consumers, partners, Jamaicans and everyone for this terrible act,” Lasco said. “Most importantly, we issue our sincerest apologies to Mr Omar McLeod.”

In the statement, the company said its affiliated companies were also “offended by such utterances which are a clear breach of our own values”.

“Consequently, we have removed the tweet and deactivated the account. Further, we have terminated the employee who posted the tweet as this action was a violation of our code of conduct,” Lasco continued.

Lasco then went on to say that they have the utmost respect for McLeod’s remarkable achievement.

“We congratulate him on his gold medal victory in the Men’s 110m Hurdles Olympic event,” the company said. “We deeply regret any embarrassment or displeasure caused by the post and again offer our sincerest apologies.”

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Bolt celebrates with Popcaan

Sports August 17, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Following his third consecutive Olympic 100 metre win on Sunday, Usain Bolt celebrated to Popcaan’s popular single “We Still A Win (World Cup)” in a series of Snapchat videos. The 2016 Olympic Games are currently being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Bolt could barely seem to contain his excitement in the Snapchat videos while singing and dancing to the NotNice-produced single.

He belted out the lines to “We Still A Win”. Popcaan has since responded with a repost of Bolt’s video with the caption “Stay winning my brother; honestly, Usain is a national hero”. Bolt, 29, is expected to run the 200m and 4×100m relay, today and tomorrow, respectively.

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#ReadySetRio: Usain Bolt – 5 steps to greatness

Sports August 15, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) – Five moments that have defined Usain Bolt’s career following his victory in the 100m here Sunday:

Beijing brilliance

Bolt arrived at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the newly minted world record holder, having clocked a blistering 9.72sec at a meeting in New York in May.

When it came to the competition in China he was simply unstoppable, setting a world record in the 100m of 9.69sec before breaking Michael Johnson’s world record of 19.32 to win the 200m.

 Bolt and Jamaica threw in a world record in the 4x100m relay for good measure.

Berlin record-breaker

At the Berlin World Championships in 2009, Bolt defied logic by improving upon his astounding performance in Beijing the previous year, bettering his world records in both the 100m and 200m.

He sliced more than a tenth of a second his previous world best, scorching across the line in 9.58sec to take gold.

Four days later he followed it up with a scintillating display in the 200m, clocking 19.19sec.

Both records have remained intact in the seven years since.

Double-treble

Bolt arrived in London chasing an improbable ‘double-treble’, aiming to successfully defend all three of his Olympic titles won in Beijing.

The first leg was achieved with victory in the 100m, where he and training partner Yohan Blake finished well clear of a field containing Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay. Bolt’s time of 9.63sec remains the fastest ever run at an Olympics.

The 200m saw a Jamaican clean sweep of the podium, with Bolt winning in 19.32sec ahead of Blake and Warren Weir.

The treble was duly completed in the 4x100m relay in a world record 36.84sec.

Gatlin thriller

Bolt headed to the Beijing World Championships in August 2015 with signs that his crown might be slipping. Injuries had appeared to have left him looking vulnerable for the first time in seven years, and long-time rival Gatlin was the man in form with the season’s fastest time.

For many, the thought of Gatlin, twice convicted of doping offences, unseating Bolt was an uncomfortable proposition. World athletics chief Sebastian Coe said the prospect made him “queasy.”

Yet when he needed it most, Bolt was able to find an extra gear, winning in 9.79sec ahead of Gatlin, second in 9.80sec.

Rio romp

Despite a patchy season hampered by injuries to his troublesome left hamstring, Bolt was able to draw on his phenomenal ability to raise himself for the big occasion in Rio. With the crowd roaring his every move — and booing his rival Gatlin — the champion stormed over in 9.81 to become the first man to win three consecutive 100m titles.

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#ReadySetRio: Today’s Olympics schedule for Jamaican athletes

Sports August 15, 2016

Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson reacts after competing in the Women’s 400m semi-final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 2016. (Photo: AFP)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Several Jamaicans will hit the track for Olympic events today, with Yona Knight-Wisdom also making his Olympic debut in diving.

See the events in which Jamaicans will participate for Monday, August 15, below:

Morning session

Men’s Triple Jump (Qualification Round) 7:30 am

 Clive Pullen

Women’s 200m (Round one) 7:30 am

Veronica Campbell-Brown

Simone Facey

Elaine Thompson

Women’s 3000M Steeplechase (Final) 9:15 am

Aisha Praught

Men’s 400m Hurdles (Round one) 9:35 am

Roxroy Cato

Jaheel Hyde

Annsert Whyte

Evening session

Men’s 3M Springboard (Preliminaries) 1:15 pm

Yona Knight-Wisdom

Women’s Discus Throw (Qualification Round) 6:30 pm

Tarasue Barnett

Kellion Knibb

Shadae Lawrence

Men’s 110M Hurdles (Round one) 6:40 pm

Deuce Carter

Omar McLeod

Andrew Riley

Women’s 400M Hurdles (Round one) 7:30 pm

Leah Nugent

Janieve Russell

Ristananna Tracey

Women’s 400m (Final) 8:45 pm

Shericka Jackson

Stephenie Ann McPherson

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#ReadySetRio: Today’s Olympics schedule for Jamaican athletes

Sports August 12, 2016

Defending 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (file photo)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Jamaicans began their medal hunt in athletics at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, today with Fedrick Dacres the first off the mark in the Men’s Discus Throw in the morning session.

Danniel Thomas is also set to compete in the Women’s shot put in the morning session.

In the evening session, Jamaica’s 400m male cohort will race into action at 7:05 pm local time. Fitzroy Dunkley competes in Heat 1, Javon ‘Donkeyman’ Francis will compete in Heat 3 and Rusheen McDonald will compete in Heat 6.

Daina Levy will don Jamaica’s colours in the Women’s hammer throw while Aubrey Smith and Damar Forbes will compete in the Men’s long jump.

Morning session

Men’s Discus Throw (Qualification Round) 7:30 am

Fedrick Dacres – Group A

Women’s Shot Put (Qualification Round) 8:05 am

Danniel Thomas – Group B

Evening session

Women’s Hammer Throw (Qualification Round) 6:40 pm

Daina Levy – Group A

Men’s 400m (Qualification Round – Heats) 7:05 pm

Fitzroy Dunkley

Javon Francis

Rusheen McDonald

Men’s Long Jump (Qualification Round) 7:20 pm

Aubrey Smith

Damar Forbes

Women’s 100m – (Qualification Round – Heats) 8:40 pm

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; Elaine Thompson; Christania Williams

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Juniors Chase Glory – Jamaicans Launch Medal Quest At IAAF World Under-20 Champs

Sports July 19, 2016

THE world’s top junior track and field athletes, including 39 from Jamaica, will be battling for glory over the next six days, as the 16th staging of the IAAF World Junior Championships, renamed the IAAF World Under-20 Championships, gets under way this morning inside the Zawisza Stadium in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The country is hosting its second World Junior Championships, following its first staging in 2008. This year’s championships will be the biggest track and field event to be staged in Poland, and it will be the second-biggest ever World Juniors, with 1,518 athletes – 832 men and 686 women – are down to participate.

Only the 2012 Championships in Barcelona, Spain, where 1,566 athletes took part, had greater numbers. Ten Jamaicans will be in action on today’s opening day, with a record six in field events and four on the track. Head coach of the Jamaica team, Donald ‘Danny’ Hawthorne, is upbeat about the chances of the athletes, who completed a three-day camp in Poland yesterday. “The vibes in the camp is very good and even today (yesterday), we had a 90-minute training session, where everyone was present, including those competing today, who did a light work-out,” he said. “At this moment, I can say that there are no injury concerns and all the athletes are raring to go,” the veteran coach informed.

HAVE TO STICK TO RULES

Hawthorne also dismissed speculation surrounding number-one sprinter Nigel Ellis, who was disqualified for a false start at the national junior trials, as it relates to the men’s 100 metres. “Both young men – Raheem Chambers and Jhevaughn Matherson – who finished in the top two at the National Champion-ships, are fully fit and will compete in the event as we have to abide by the rules,” he said. The first Jamaican in action today will be Sanjae Lawrence, who will compete in Section A of the qualifying round of the men’s shot put (at 2:35 a.m. Jamaica time). Qualification mark is 19.45m, or the best 12 competitors advance.

Lawrence’s Petersfield High schoolmate, Kevin Nedrick, will compete in Section B. The final is scheduled for 1 p.m. (Jamaica time). Shawn D. Thompson and Obrien Wasome will grace the track at 4:55 a.m. (Jamaica time) in qualification round of the long jump. The former will be in Group A, with the latter competing in Group B. The qualification standard for tomorrow’s final is 7.70m, or the best 12.

TRACK EVENTS

Matherson and Chambers will be the first two Jamaicans to be involved in track events, when they close out action in the morning session in the preliminary round of the men’s 100m. Matherson will race from lane seven in Heat 2 at 5:12 a.m. (Jamaica time), while Chambers will run in lane eight in Heat 6 at 5:40 a.m. The top three and six fastest losers will advance to tomorrow’s semi-finals, with the final slated for later in the day.

Shanice Love, the fourth-ranked discus thrower among females, will be the first Jamaican to compete in the second session of the day, when she throws in Group A of the qualification round of the women’s discus at 11:20 a.m. (Jamaica time), with her countrywoman, Devia Brown, set for action in Group B at 12:35 p.m. St Elizabeth Technical’s Junelle Bromfield, and Tiffany James of Mico University College, the only females on the track for Jamaica today and who both could be among the medals, will compete in the preliminary round of the women’s 400 metres.

Bromfield, who is now the top seed at the Championships with her season-best 51.74 seconds, will take the track at 12:18 p.m. (Jamaica time) and will run out of lane seven in Heat 11. James, who is the second seed, with 52.06 seconds, is in Heat 4, and will run out of lane five at 12:34 p.m Jamaican time. Both look set to qualify easily to tomorrow’s second round.

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Sporting bodies happy with athletes insurance plan

Sports January 31, 2016

Two local sporting bodies are expressing gratitude to the government ahead of tomorrow’s start of the Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan (JAIP).

The JAIP, which was launched last Thursday at the Office of the Prime Minister, is to provide sustainable insurance, pension and retirement coverage for eligible national athletes who are members of a national association or federation.

At the launch, it was said that 517 female and 806 male athletes from across 28 sporting bodies were eligible. Netball Jamaica President Paula Daley-Morris said the insurance plan will offset much of the expense borne by the association.  “This insurance plan that we are a part of, we are extremely grateful for it because we spend millions on health insurance. We have several squads that are usually in training for international and regional competitions,” she told the Jamaica Observer after the launch.

The health cards can only be used in Jamaica. The cost of premiums will be shared between the Government of Jamaica and the sport associations and federations. The government is to contribute 95 per cent, while collectively, the sporting bodies are to cover the other five per cent.

“The fact that we are only paying five per cent for the overall health insurance for our players is going to help us in terms of keeping more money in our kitty. We are extremely grateful for the benevolence of the government and we certainly hope this will allow us to do more with the limited resources we have working with.

“We have health practitioners volunteering with us for years and we’ve never been able to pay them. So at least now we can attract more, and the ones that are so loyal can now benefit in that the services they give will not be totally free,” explained Daley-Morris.

The netball boss, who has only been in charge two months since taking over the reins from long-time president, Marva Bernard, was thankful to her predecessor. Bernard is a member of the committee tasked with recommending a sustainable welfare plan for athletes. “I feel lucky to be the one in this position. Not to have this expense is going to be very helpful to me as a young president. I know that Mrs Bernard worked hard on the committee for this to come through so I’m grateful to her, not only for netball, but sports in general,“ said Daley-Morris.

Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association, said JAIP should be considered a “remarkable start” as government looks to implement measures aimed at improving the welfare of national athletes. “You can’t avoid injuries in sport; it comes with the territory, so when you can have a mechanism like this in place to provide support for our athletes…it is a remarkable start. “It’s a move in the right direction. We can all sit back and say it’s overdue, but I also believe nothing happens before its time. I think we should all applaud the efforts of the government, the Prime Minister [Portia Simpson Miller] and the minister with responsibility for sport [Natalie Neita Headley] and the National Sport Council,” Heaven told the Observer.

“From a cricketing point of view it will go a far way in terms of enhancing the sport, and in the development of the sport. Sportsmen and sportswomen, in the early stages of development, are not necessarily endowed with a lot of cash, so it can become a struggle where health matters are concerned,” the cricket boss added. Over the past two seasons in particular, there have been several cases of cricketers sustaining injuries that required medical attention. Meanwhile, Simpson Miller, who has direct oversight of the sport portfolio, said the government has invested $1.5 billion on sport development and infrastructure over the last three years.

“We are serious about the business of sport,” she said during her speech at the JAIP inauguration. “We have spent more than $1.5 billion on sport infrastructure across Jamaica in the last three years.” She pointed to the $250-million funding of the High School Sport Infrastructure Improvement Project (HSSIIP). The Jamaican prime minister added that “since April 2015, $70 million has been allocated in the national budget for national associations and federations to offset costs associated with using the facilities at Independence Park Limited”.

Simpson Miller said that last year Cabinet approved a budget of $39 million to support the development of a national sport museum, to be located next to the Bob Marley statue, across from the National Stadium.

 

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