KAREN Anderson, Jamaica’s chef de mission to the inaugural Caribbean Games, says it will offer the ideal platform for young competitors to showcase their talent before getting into the deeper waters of international competition.
The June 29 to July 3 regional showpiece, to be held in Guadeloupe this year, was conceptualised by the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) from as far back as 2009, but is only now about to get off the ground.
“The games provides our younger athletes across the board the opportunity to compete at a higher level than just our local level. It really provides them a great opportunity to forge their names and really establish themselves,” she said on Wednesday during a function at the offices of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) as the country’s delegation to Guadeloupe was named.
The games is to feature Under-23 competitors in seven disciplines — athletics, basketball (three vs three), cycling, futsal, judo, netball and swimming. Jamaica will compete in all except futsal.
“We are trying to get more athletes from Jamaica in a cross section of sports at the international level…. We are very excited to have so many athletes competing in the six disciplines,” Anderson, a former national squash player, said.
Cyclist Chanelle Russell, 17, of St Andrew High School for Girls, told the Jamaica Observer she and her teammates are eager for competition.
“I’m looking forward to the games coming up. We have been training and putting in the work, so I believe we’re going to have very good results,” she said.
JOA President Christopher Samuda said the inaugural games is another avenue through which athletes can get the chance to fulfill their potential.
“We’ll play our role as one of the Caribbean leaders. History has been made and will be made as we pursue our dreams and aspirations at the games. The Jamaica Olympic Association uses games not only simply for the delivery of progress in athleticism but we use it as an opportunity to in fact self-actualise our athletes,” he said.
In a video message Brian Lewis, the CANOC president, gave the JOA a pat on the back for partnering in the history-making games.
“I extend sincerest congratulations to the Jamaica Olympic Association, the delegation that will be attending the first-ever Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe which gets underway on June 29. We are very happy that Jamaica Olympic Association has thrown its full weight of support behind the games,” Lewis said.
Jamaica delegation: Basketball — Matthew McGowan, David Gordon, Tafari Simms, Malik Lawrence Anderson, Rick Turner (coach); Judo — Kurt- Ann Simpson, Rashawn Pinnock, Christopher Johnson, Steven Moore (coach); Swimming — Sabrina Lyn, McKenzie Headley, Kito Campbell, Wendy Lee (coach); Cycling — Bradley McFarlane, Chanelle Russell, Duwayne Douglas, Kevan Pryce, Brandon Baker, Khori Mauricette, Adrian Clarke (coach); Netball — Shadine Bartley, Theresa Beckford, Odeacha Johnson, Chamoi Manohan, Roxanna McLean, Crystal Plummer, Tafiya Hunter, Tahlice Redwood, Kimone Shaw, Abigail Sutherland, Mikeala Walker, Amanda Pinkney, Annett Daley (coach), Dalton Hinds (assistant coach); Athletics — Sachin Dennis, Gregory Prince, Anthony Cox, Rasheed Broadbell, Conroy Jones, Brian Smith (manager), Keilando Gordon (coach), Kamla Forbes-Lynch (physiotherapist).
Management — Karen Anderson (chef de mission), Claudette Wilmot (deputy chef de mission), Kwanzi Bernard (team physiotherapist), Dr Leroy Harrison (team physician), Roger Shaw (communications).
— Sanjay Myers