President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, says one of his main objectives during the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, is to strengthen existing bilateral agreements with other organisations and establish new ones, with the view of aiding the development of local minor sports in particular.
The JOA has several partnerships in place with counterparts from Japan, Ukraine and Panama putting pen to paper on multi-year agreements with the organisation, which involve research, medical and sports science, coaching exchange and marketing information, etc.
“Our bilateral relations, which we have expanded, are very important to us. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine that was about to get off the ground and then the pandemic came. It would have seen some of our athletes going to a camp there, particularly in combat sports,” said Samuda.
He added that discussions are already well advanced, with several other National Olympic Committees (NOCs) expected to confirm arrangements with the JOA over the next few days, as talks continue in Japan.
Samuda shared that the agreements are designed to benefit the less-supported local sporting associations and their athletes and programmes.
“We are going to be signing with two or three other NOCs from which we can benefit – those emerging sports that people call minor sports but we don’t treat them as such, to assist them in terms of their technical prowess and capacity, so they will have a fair opportunity of transitioning to the international stage,” Samuda added.
The Games are absolutely important for Jamaica. We have a heritage, history and legacy of athletics prowess, and we need to continue that, to solidify that. I know that our athletes, as all athletes, have faced challenges because of the pandemic. That is a common enemy and we can’t use that as an excuse, but I am very hopeful and very optimistic that we will demonstrate our athletics prowess here,” Samuda said.
“Sometimes people will say that we are not at the levels of 2008 or 2012, but everything is cyclical and I am sure that our athletes are committed to carry the colours with pride and dignity and, in that respect, I have no doubt that they will give their best,” he added.
Jamaica won 11 medals at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, including six gold, three silver, and two bronze.