JHF laying foundation for future Olympic qualification
President of the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) Fabian Stewart says that the Youth Hockey male and female teams' participation in the Youth Pan American Championships (Hockey 5's) in Mexico this weekend will not only serve to qualify the team for the Youth Olympic Games in October this year, but to lay the foundation to achieve the federation's main objective: to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The Under-18 teams left the island on Wednesday for Guadalajara, Mexico to take part in the week-long tournament.
Stewart, who pointed out that it was the first time that the country was participating in a youth tournament, said that the teams' main objective is to be exposed to international competitions in order to continue growing in the sport.
"Because we are in our development stage, the objective is for our youngsters to participate, and participate well, be very competitive, and to understand the game from an international viewpoint," Stewart said.
He added: "We have a vision for the 2024 Olympics. Like any other sports, you have to have a cycle, and it is usually a six-year development cycle. So what we are trying to do is start with our Under-18s and work with them through the Under-21 stage and, hopefully, we can qualify for the Olympic Games in 2024."
NO EASY TASK
To get to the Paris Olympic Games, the Jamaicans will have to finish in the top four out of the 34 nations that will be taking part in the tournament.
"It is by no means an easy task. The top country right now is Trinidad, and they are ranked 20th in the world. They are the highest-ranked Caribbean country. It is an immense task, but the objective is to start with the youth players," Stewart said.
Tomorrow, the female team will take on Uruguay in their opening match, while their male counterparts will take on Brazil in their opener.
- Christopher Reid - Excelsior High School (captain)
- Shemar Gordon - Excelsior High School (vice-captain)
- Javaney Huie (GK) - Excelsior High School
- Nickoy Stephenson - Mona High School
- Gifford Harding - Mona High School
- Deandra Smalling - Munro College
- Kevin Hewitt - Kingston College
- Daniel Powell - Denbigh High School
- Travis Gilfillian (GK) - Denbigh High School
- Adawi Atkin - Kingston College
- Carlando Gordon - Excelsior High School
- Brean Blackwood (GK) - Merl Grove High School (captain)
- Ajhnique Williams - Papine High School (vice-captain)
- Imauny Linton - Mona High School
- Aaliyah James - Wolmer's Girls' School
- Seychelle Doyley - Wolmer's Girls' School
- Tami-Ann Ashmeade - Merl Grove High School
- Charlette Rowe - St Hugh's High School
- Shadae Gilespie - Excelsior High School
- Courtney Seivwright (GK) - Wolmer's Girls' School
- Andrena Williams - Excelsior High School
- Shahiem Harrison - Merl Grove High School
- Kareeka Nicholls - St Andrew High School for Girls