Jamaica Paralympic Association president Christopher Samuda has said that the spirit of the Paralympics has given rise to the birth of the country’s first parasports foundation, which was established in western Jamaica on Wednesday.
Speaking at the official launch of the St James Parasports Foundation (StJPF) at the Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay, St James, Samuda said it gave him a sense of pride to see the spirit of the Paralympics being expanded to the west and urged the leadership to embrace persons living with disabilities so that they could realise their fullest potentials.
“Today is historic for sports in Jamaica as it marks the beginning of a movement in the west to inculcate and deepen the Paralympics spirit,” said Samuda. “The birth of (this) parasports foundation will help to ignite hope and opportunities for persons with disabilities.”
“We must not only be cognisant of change and transformation in sports, but we must accept and welcome them as a right and not a privilege of persons with disabilities,” added Samuda, who is also the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association.
Samuda went on to encourage the new federation to seek to establish a commanding position in the west in its quest to build out the sport among the community of people living with disabilities.
“Not only conquer the west, unearth paralympics talents that will not only perform with excellence in competition, but in so doing, demonstrate character in living lives in sports and beyond sport,” urged Samuda. “I also charge the federation to inform, educate, and inspire youths in the parish whose challenges give them gravitas to make credible the incredible and possible the impossible.”
Clive Waldron, who has taken on the mantle of leadership of the StJPF, says they are excited about the prospects of parasports expansion across Jamaica and implored the business community in the Second City to assist in what he has described as a worthy cause.
“We are here to change the mindset by opening the doors of opportunity to all by forming this association with qualified persons, who will work to unearth the talents and make St James the leader and champion of all parasports event in Jamaica,” said Waldron.
A WORTHY CAUSE
“We would like to ask and implore those persons with a heart to help these people excel and those with the financial capacity to give generously as we believe it’s a worthy cause,” said Waldron, who is also the president of the Montego Bay Cricket Club.
Andrew East, president of the County of Cornwall Combined Disabilities Association, says his organisation is happy to be involved, noting that the initiative will bring new hope to the disabled community in the region.
“This is an outlet to show what we are capable of more than what most people see, especially those who feel that we don’t have any use and can’t do anything. This will show and educate able body people of our ability,” said East said.
“We can now train together and even compete at sporting events. I think it will be even more encouraging to know that we are not alone but that able body persons are reaching out to us,” added East.