Cricket gets fitness and wellness centre
President of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Wilford 'Billy' Heaven is hopeful that the opening of the state-of-the-art fitness and wellness centre at Sabina Park will result in an improvement of the national cricket teams.
The fitness centre, which was officially opened on Thursday at Sabina Park by Minister of Sports Olivia 'Babsy' Grange cost an estimated US$70,000 and was co-funded by the National Health Fund (NHF).
"This is an initiative that was contained in this administration's manifesto over two years ago, and this is a realisation of that commitment," said Heaven.
"It is an achievement of the JCA, and the hope is that it will contribute to the fitness level of our players, which, at the moment, is nowhere near where it should be."
The facility, which will also be open to members of other national associations, as well as sports clubs and schools, consists of a range of equipment and exercise machines.
It can hold a capacity of 20 persons at any given time.
"The fact that the JCA has chosen to take the matter of health seriously is most worthy of commendation, and, indeed, adulation," stated Grange, who cut a ribbon to signify the opening.
"I must commend the NHF and the CHASE Fund for buying into the vision and providing the funding for this initiative."
Added Grange: "What pleases me most, as well, is that this vision fits into my wider vision for the support of infrastructure, which we, as a Government, must put in place to support our athletes."
ENDORSED BY MINISTRY
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Kevin Harvey, who spoke on behalf of Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, also hailed the venture.
"The ministry has been on a drive to take health to another level, and last year, we launched our workplace policy," Harvey outlined.
This is because, he said, the ministry recognised that several Jamaicans spent a significant portion of their time at work.
"We have subsequently been encouraging persons to set up at their workplace wellness centres and areas of opportunity for physical activity," he said.
Meanwhile, Everton Anderson, chief executive officer of the NHF, who presented the JCA with several pamphlets and healthy lifestyle charts for the centre, said that he welcomed the partnership.
"We believe that a healthier nation leads to a more productive nation, and when Mr Heaven approached us, we were excited," said Anderson.
"I commend Mr Heaven, and on behalf of the board and management of the NHF, we really are pleased that we were able to contribute to this wellness centre US$50,000."
He added: "We really hope that it will lead to positive outcomes."