Martin Lyn : Let's push diving in Jamaica
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
Former president of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica and the country's deputy Chef de Mission at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Martin Lyn, believes the country has an opportunity to push the sport of diving with Yona Knight-Wisdom's historic qualification to the Olympic Games.
Knight-Wisdom is set to become the first Jamaican male to compete in Olympic diving when he takes his first plunge from the 3m springboard on August 15 inside the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre and Lyn, who has been instrumental in the British-born diver's bid to represent the country here says the support must arrive to capitalise on his achievement and drive the sport forward in Jamaica.
"For Yona to qualify for diving from a little country like Jamaica is in fact huge. You have countries like Australia, China, Great Britain that specialise in diving, Yona was tested at school to see if he could be a potential diver at age 13 and these are the things we have to put in place to understand that sports in Jamaica is not just athletics, we have matured from that," Lyn told The Gleaner.
Betsy Sullivan (now Betsy Sharpe) was the first Jamaican diver to compete in the Olympic Games after her appearance at Munich 1972.
"What we have to do is ensure that we put the infrastructure for diving in place in Jamaica because we have a lot of local divers," he added. "We have people diving every day all over Jamaica - whether it's from the cliffs of Negril or in the rivers, we have a lot of natural ability and a lot of persons, who are capable, what's beating us is the infrastructure."
Lyn pointed to several upgrades needed at the Independence Park diving facility such as a $760,000 diving board and a $900,000 fulcrum.
"The facilities are there we just need the wherewithal, we also need the push for people to understand that this is a big international sport," Lyn added.
He noted that he is in dialogue with several other divers, who have expressed an interest in representing the island internationally and have already recruited 14 year-old Pele Julien, who already competed for Jamaica at the Pan Am Junior Diving Championships in Cuba last year.
"It was under my leadership that we were able to bring diving back to Jamaica. We have a couple other divers that we are looking at too," he said.
"Certainly athletics is our foundation but we have shown that we can excel in other sports. Today we have a gymnast, the last Olympics we had Taekwondo and Equestrian - there is no reason Jamaica could not be competing in six to eight Olympic sports, we certainly don't lack the talent," Lyn shared.