Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Pan Am and Parapan Games for Jamaica Judo this summer

Published:Saturday | June 29, 2019 | 12:05 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Devin Waldenburg (left) and Pan-American Games 2019 qualifier Ebony Drysdale-Daley.
Jamaica’s Devin Waldenburg (left) and Pan-American Games 2019 qualifier Ebony Drysdale-Daley.

Judo continues to grow in Jamaica, and at 350 athletes strong, the national team is beaming with excitement having qualified to participate in two major games this summer.

Jamaica Judo Association president Dwayne Barnett is pleased to be sending a team not only to the Pan American (Pan Am Games), but the Parapan Games, for para-­athletes, as well.

“It’s a historic moment for Jamaica as you know Judo started in Jamaica just a year ago,” Barnett said. “We did our first lesson last year in May, and in all that time, we have achieved two Commonwealth gold medals; we have achieved qualifying for the Pan Am Games, which is the first time in history; we have achieved qualifying for the Parapan Games; and we are also taking a team over to Canada to compete in the Pan American Cup.

“As you can imagine, Judo is an immensely complex sports, and so for us to have achieved all that in a year is just commendable. There are sports which are more established than Judo and haven’t made it to the Parapan or the Pan American games, so I think for us, it’s really a historic moment,” Barnett said.

He said that recruitment for the association was not an issue as Judo is now being practised in five high schools, and lessons will start for primary-school children next week.

“From that programme, we have our national championship last year, where we have put together a pool of talent based on performance at the national championship. That pool of talent is what we call the national team. We have regular training, and we have been very fortunate to have a large auditorium for training, and the training runs on the weekend,” Barnett said.

The Pan Am Games, which is held a year before each Olympic Games, will be held in Lima, Peru starting on July 26, while the Parapan American Games, also in Lima, will get under way on August 23.