The Digicel Foundation partnered with the Jamaica Paralympic Association to restore the Paralympic basketball court at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre for the island’s first National Paralympic Day.
The foundation has invested $10 million in the restoration of the basketball court. The funding was awarded as part of the Digicel Foundation’s Special Needs Awareness campaign in October 2021, which included a call for applications from registered special-needs organisations.
“This is our first major investment in the Jamaica Paralympic Association,” explained Charmaine Daniels, chief executive officer of the Digicel Foundation. “We’ve partnered with them in the past on small projects and have been proud to have gold medallist, Alphanso Cunningham, as one of our Digicel Jamaica ambassadors. Now, it’s time for us to make a bigger investment in the team by ensuring that they have a safe and well-maintained space to train and play. This is just one of the ways we’re helping to create a world where no one gets left behind.”
The work done includes the resurfacing of the dilapidated court, replacing the rotting wooden stands with a concrete structure, installing a new perimeter fence, and painting the surrounding facility.
“Our athletes, over the years, have trained at this facility in the interest of national representation,” said Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Paralympic Association. He indicated that while the court has been renovated, there is still more work to do to the adjacent clubhouse and gym. “We’re inviting sponsors to come in, refurbish the facility and help us provide a state-of-the-art gym for our Paralympic athletes.”
Members of the association joined Digicel Foundation on Paralympic Day to finish and paint the stands and remove the old perimeter fencing. Alphanso Cunningham and coach Neville Sinclair were among the members who participated.
“This renovation will assist us tremendously in preparing for future competition and with training our younger athletes,” said Cunningham, adding that the work done will help put them back on track to start their basketball programme.
Jamaica’s Paralympic team is expected to compete in their first international competition in July – a three-a-side basketball competition at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.