Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Ja's prospects for Tokyo 2020 looking good

Published:Tuesday | March 27, 2018 | 5:17 PMJason Cross

Jamaica’s administrative preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan are already under way, and president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Christopher Samuda, has expressed his ambition to have Jamaica tackle the world in at least 10 sporting disciplines.

On Monday The Gleaner caught up with Samuda, who was among JOA top brass who were invited to Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, Hiromasa Yamazaki’s private residence in St Andrew, to further establish bonds of friendship, way in advance of the games.

“We have already selected our chef de mission and team managers for Tokyo 2020. They have started to work already and are planning way in advance for a successful Tokyo games. We have a slogan that says 10 in 20. In other words we want to be competitive in at least 10 disciplines.

“We are working with our sport associations and we have shared with them our vision and they have been responding in a positive way. We see for instance rugby is doing well and we expect them to continue. We now have handball which I understand has a very robust programme. All in all, Tokyo is looking good. We just have to keep consistency and encourage our youth to excel,” Samuda said.

The biggest challenge Samuda feels Jamaica needs to overcome is to ensure that the large pool of talent spanning disciplines is preserved leading up to the games.  

“There will always be of course a concern when it comes to selection. And I have basis to believe that, come Tokyo 2020, we are going to have a large pool of talent competing for only three spaces, particularly in track and field. The pool of youth talent is large as well, so competition will be tremendous. It is a good sign for Jamaica, but at the same time, we have to preserve that talent.”

He continued: “Whether it is badminton or swimming and so on, we have to ensure we hone the talent, and that we are intelligent in terms of its development, to ensure we do have talent that burns out before 2020. That has been difficult for us, even when you look at the number of athletes that transition to the international stage from the Boys and Girls' Championships.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com