The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) says the island could have a record number of athletes participating in different sports at the Paris 2024 Summer Games.
President of the JOA, Christopher Samuda, says this might be possible because of Jamaica’s increasing participation in ‘non-traditional’ sports.
“Our aim is to ensure that at the Olympic Games, which is the pinnacle of all our sports, that we are well represented in at least 20 sports and therefore that is our goal for Paris 2024. Therefore we are investing and reinvesting in those sports to ensure that the athletes transition to the international stage,” Samuda said.
The Olympian Database shows that Jamaica has participated in 17 sports at the Olympic Games and the island has won a total of 88 medals in all, except for a bronze in cycling, coming from athletics.
In order for Jamaica to continue to develop as a competitive nation in sports, Samuda said the country has to work on improving in other sports.
“The JOA has as one of its main objective to ensure that we broaden and deepen our representation in ‘non-traditional’ sports on the international and regional stage and therefore we have been resourcing and we have been investing in quite a few of these ‘non-traditional’ sports. However, we do not term them as non-traditional sports because we feel like each sport has an equal share of belonging,” he said. “That is for us a definition of sports development, when you are able to have the country being represented in several sports rather than one sport or two sports.”
To ensure this objective is achieved to its full extent, Samuda said the association is also targeting the grassroots level.
“We always feel that our youth must be given options in sports (because) not everybody is an athlete in track and field, not everybody is a footballer or cricketer and therefore we have to find other sports in which they can participate in, self-actualise and also grow the sports to the extent that we have quite a few flagship sports and not just simply one,” he said.
With the help of corporate sponsorship, Samuda said carrying out some of these goals has been successful but the JOA needs more help.
“We have been growing our revenue base by bringing corporate sponsors on board and we have been interesting corporate sponsors in supporting those sports because some of them are very expensive, for example fencing,” he said, “We are inviting more corporate sponsors to come on board because it is doing the country a very good deed.”
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