The Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) held its press launch for its “I Am Phenomenal” campaign on Tuesday ahead of National Paralympic Day next month, and used the occasion to reiterate the extraordinary commitment and effort on the part of stakeholders.
The initiative, which aims to celebrate the achievements of Jamaica’s Paralympic athletes, was launched at the Jamaica Olympic Association headquarters in Kingston with a number of para-athletes, coaches, and administrators in attendance.
JPA director Ryan Foster described the venture as historic and humbling.
“Today, we are all phenomenal,” he said. “Our athletes are phenomenal for their achievements on the field of play, but more importantly, phenomenal in their spirit and commitment to a movement that is not only characterised by their performances but also a way of life that we all should engage.
“Our coaches and administrators are phenomenal in the sacrifices that they have made to provide opportunities for our people to not only improve upon their trade but also their livelihood,” he said.
JPA President Christopher Samuda said the campaign aims to show Jamaica that para-athletes are “able”.
“Because we are able, we have the capacity to do things that are phenomenal and our mantra is to create the possible from the impossible, the credible from the incredible,” he said. “Those are the concepts that we want to advocate.
“Separate and apart from that philosophical underpinning of the Paralympic movement, we want to, by virtue of our own performance, communicate to Jamaica that we are central to the sporting asset and stock of this country. That is indisputable. We have had achievements that no other has accomplished. We have had, despite our challenges, landmarks that we have established that persons with greater ability have not done so.”
Nathaniel Bailey, a para-surfer who attended the ceremony, said the celebration made him elated to be an athlete at this time.
“I’m seeing that we’re getting all this support from the country,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “It really says something about where we’re going as a people.”
Samuda said the celebrations begin on Sunday, March 5 with what the JPA calls “Paralympic Messaging”. This involves interviews with various stations and messages via Visual Vibe, an agency that advertises through digital billboards islandwide.
There will be a ceremony at King’s House on Friday, March 10 at 10:00 am, when Governor General Sir Patrick Allen will officially launch the campaign and present the proclamation of National Paralympic Day to the JPA. This proclamation was issued last year but not presented because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in August Town, St Andrew will then host an event called “Paralympic Care” at 1:00 pm that afternoon. This, Samuda said, will initiate the JPA’s outreach call programme “Able Hands Across Jamaica”.
There will then be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the centre’s recently refurbished court at 5:00 pm featuring wheelchair-bound basketballers and able-bodied players.
National Paralympic Day then follows on March 11. There will be a live message broadcast from the centre from para-athletes, which Samuda says will convey stories of disappointment, hope, faith, ambition, and victory.
Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) President Christopher Samuda (centre) in discussion with para athletes Acee Green (front left), and Nathaniel Bailey (front right) at a media launch for the I Am Phenomenal campaign at Olympic Manor in St Andrew on Tuesday. Looking on are JPA Director Ryan Foster (back, second left) and other para athletes. (Photo: Aston Spaulding)
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