JOA urges new inductees to ‘challenge status quo’
New sporting bodies incorporated into the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) fold have been challenged to foster an all-conquering spirit.
Christopher Samuda, president of the JOA, threw down the gauntlet at an induction ceremony for modern pentathlon, archery, roller sport, lawn bowls and bodybuilding and fitness - at the JOA headquarters last week.
"The Jamaica Olympic Association is in the business of empowering and capacity building, not for rÈsumÈ building and profiling purposes but to give our members a sense that they can. Yes, we give our members a sense of entitlement to victory, to success, and we make no apology for this. We give them a belief that if the world can, then as citizens of the global village and residents of JamRock, they can," said Samuda.
"The members who have now joined the household must engender in the DNA of their constituents this emotional and gut response when facing challenges on the field of play and when disappointment visits, but must never become resident. For sport is about challenging the status quo and transforming the game. Sport is all about creating tomorrow's historic feats from the routine of the present," Samuda emphasised.
Recent additions have expanded to nine since May, when sports such as chess, darts, handball and skateboarding joined the JOA ranks. Now, the number of sports within its fold stands at 46.
Ryan Foster, CEO of the JOA, highlighted the path being blazed by these and other JOA members as he delivered welcoming remarks.
"I am overjoyed because we have gathered to induct another five members to our family of legends," said Foster.
He listed the Reggae Girlz's historic qualification to the 2019 World Cup in France, Alia Atkinson's exceptional string of victories and gold medal at the FINA World Cup, the Sunshine Girls' silver-medal finish at the Fast5 world tournament - with Jamaica's Shameera Sterling earning the MVP award and the Jamaica Chess Federation's Ian Wilkinson being appointed vice-president of the World Chess Federation as four big recent events.
"These are just some of the reasons that I stand here this evening a proud CEO. Our 41-member-strong association has been rewriting history," noted Foster.
The presidents of the Bodybuilding and Fitness and Roller Sports welcomed the opportunity for their athletes to claim Olympic status.
"I remember when I used to compete in bodybuilding and fitness years ago, I wish we were supported by the JOA. But now, being the president, I decided to apply, and now, we're a part of the JOA, and this is a good thing for us because we need the support to take the sport further to where we want to take it," said Audrey Allwood-Mullings, president of the Jamaica Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.
Noting their primary goal of "getting into the Olympics", Allwood-Mullings added: "In fact, we just sent off a team today to the Pan Am Games, which is the first-ever team from Jamaica into bodybuilding and fitness at the Pan Am Games. So, getting into the JOA is the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to us."
Gilroy Graham, president of the Jamaica Roller Sports Association, also beamed at their induction.
"We see this as a tremendous opportunity to help us with the organisation and promotion of roller sports in Jamaica," said Graham.
"Speed skating is not a sport in the Summer Olympics, but it is a sport in the Junior Olympics, and we expect that by 2024, speed skating will become a sport in the Summer Olympics and so, we'll be preparing ourselves to participate in the Olympics," said Graham.