Swimming president looks to ease burden
President of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Handel Lamey, said his administration is trying to alleviate some of the financial burdens parents have to bare for their children who represent the country at the annual Carifta Swimming Championships.
In March, news broke that the ASAJ required each parent of the 25-member squad to pay US$3,183.73 or J$388,415 to attend the champion-ships in Martinique. Four swimmers subsequently withdrew from the squad.
Speaking at the launch of the Mayberry Schools Championship recently, Lamey just stopped short of making any commitment, as he says his association has been taking steps, including partnering with the Government, to reduce the financial strain that were placed on the parents this year.
"We cant' make any promises, but we will look at how the costing is done for Carifta. In the past, we have had a structure and it is stipulated in our by-laws of how we fund different level meets. Carifta was initially viewed as a development meet, but what we have found competition-wise is that it has grown to be the most competitive meet in the entire region.
"So CARIFTA has a higher ratings than a lot of the competitions that were once rated higher, so we will have to look at the funding structure going forward," he explained.
"The next Carifta [Games] will be in The Bahamas, and I think we will have a lower cost because we will not have the airline fare that it takes to go to Martinique, and the 2018 Carifta will be in Jamaica, and the cost then will be much lower, because we won't have to leave Jamaica," he said.
He says with the help and support of corporate Jamaica and the Government, the financial burden can be eased for the parents, who want to see their kids participate in the region's premier age-group swimming competition.
"We have received some sponsor-ship from the Government, and if there is any rebate that can be had, we will be assisting those parents because we know how costly it was to fund that trip to Martinique.
"We are seeking funding and trying to partner with corporate Jamaica for the support in the aquatics discipline. We know we have the potential, as we have produced World champions and Olympians, so we see no reason why swimming cannot be at the level where track and field is and it's our objective to take swimming to that level," Lamey added.