Sat | Oct 19, 2019

JOA hails Francis’ Tokyo berth

Published:Tuesday | October 8, 2019 | 12:14 AM
Jamaican gymnast Danusia Francis competes on the vault in women’s individual all-around artistic gymnastics at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on Monday, July 29, 2019.
Jamaican gymnast Danusia Francis competes on the vault in women’s individual all-around artistic gymnastics at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on Monday, July 29, 2019.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has commended artistic gymnast Danusia Francis for her qualification for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, next year.

The JOA says that Francis’ qualification was expected as she had performed consistently well and displayed the confidence of a specialist in her field.

“Look back at the journey, and you will see commitment and resolve, grit and determination, pride in country and self-confidence, athleticism and prowess, creativity and artistry,” JOA president Christopher Samuda said. “That’s Danusia, and this represents what the JOA is instilling in its members and their athletes. You’ve got to get it right from the get-go to claim the prize.”

JOA Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer Ryan Foster said: “We saw immediately the talent and an Olympic prospect in Danusia and invested in one of Jamaica’s finest gymnasts. We funded her campaign in Stuttgart (where she qualified) and have funded others because we had the conviction, and in this case Danusia gave us good reason to do so. It was not a guessing game. It was game on.”

The JOA says that it is continuing its drive to transition talent from the often-termed ‘non-traditional’ sports to the regional and global stages in demonstrating the versatility of Jamaica’s credentials.

“Let’s understand it clearly,” Samuda said. “Each sport has an equal right to place its stock in trade in the arena, to be recognised and acknowledged, and to fight for a coveted place in sporting history. That’s our philosophy and approach.”

The JOA funded a pre-games camp earlier this year for rising boxing star Ricardo ‘Big 12’ Brown, who then earned a historic bronze medal for Jamaica in the Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru.

“I have said on many occasions, we, the JOA, are not spectators at ringside,” Foster said. “We are in the ring, alongside our member associations, creating opportunities for knock-out victories. Once there is merit, the gloves are on, and we’ll punch with them.”

Francis is the first Jamaican athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Games next year.