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JOA looking to make most of Sabina Park

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Sabina Park

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will be looking to establish the country as a renowned and respected site for Olympic sport, which includes partnering with Sabina Park Holdings, which manages the world-renowned cricket facility.

President of the JOA Christopher Samuda shared their vision during a press conference on Friday, January 18, at R Hotel in New Kingston, where details of the Clarence Brown (CB) Crocs International Sevens Rugby Tournament were divulged. The tournament will take place at Sabina Park today, running from 8:00 a.m.

The tournament comprises 30 teams, inclusive of eight men's and four women 's senior teams, eight high school boys and four high school girls teams, two over-35 teams, two 'Old Crocs', two 'Tiny Tots Crocs', and an exhibition matchup between the premier outfits, Jamaica Crocs, the national men's team and a past national outfit with players from the 1980s.

A host of foreign-based players will be on show for the tournament which has as its main sponsor the JOA.

"What better place to have this competition but at Sabina Park, where the past, present, and, I have no doubt, future, witness feats of courage, determination, character, artistry, comradeship, and excellence while serving as a learning ground in testing mettle when disappointment or doubt occur," said Samuda.

"The JOA will, therefore, be seeking a partnership with Sabina Park Holdings in bringing to the revered cricket Mecca, along South Camp Road, Olympic sports in establishing Sabina Park as a regional and an international Olympic venue. Cricket will remain indisputably the king of the royal court, but will have Olympic sports as able courtiers.

"This is part of the overall vision of the JOA, establishing Jamaica as a renowned and respected location for global competition in Olympic sport while encouraging our youth to aspire to play on a ground where champions and standard-bearers have walked with history and given invaluable lessons in sportsmanship," Samuda shared.




Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) Jerry Benzwick says that the presence of overseas-based national players adds prestige to the tournament, now in its sixth staging.

"It gives it a level of prestige and expectations because the boys who play for us here want to play with our boys overseas, and they don't get that opportunity often, so this is a wonderful chance for us to blend these players, and for us to get to know each other, and for the players from overseas to feel the vibe and energy from Jamaica," said Benzwick.

The JFRU head said the tournament fits part of a wider development plan for rugby's growth.

"This year, we're having a Sevens Series, so it's seven Sevens. We're doing seven tournaments in seven different places, and what that does is it introduces rugby into seven different areas. We have gone to St Ann so far, we had one at Mona, now we're down at Sabina, and the next one is probably going to be at G.C. Foster College. There are supposed to be three more, and one is going to be in MoBay, one might be in Clarendon, and then I'm not sure where the other one is going to be because we're still looking at the venues for that," Benzwick shared.

The Jamaica Crocs won the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in July and has since qualified for the Rugby Sevens World Cup. Ryan Foster, CEO of the JOA, says their continued rise encouraged support to the CB Crocs Sevens.