Thu | Feb 27, 2020

Jamaica on track for 10-sport Olympic showing – Samuda

Published:Wednesday | January 22, 2020 | 12:05 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), says the body’s 10 in 20 Olympic campaign, which targets qualification in 10 different disciplines for the 2020 Games set for Tokyo, Japan, is in full gear.

Jamaica has so far qualified Danusia Francis for gymnastics, Alia Atkinson for swimming with the National Senior Championships later this year set to help select the country’s track and field representation at the July Games.

Meanwhile, women’s football, rugby (male and female), skate boarding, rowing, karate, judo, taekwando, female cycling, wrestling and badminton are aiming to secure their places at the Games between now and April when all qualifiers will be completed.

“We are running our 10 in 20 campaign and we are hoping that we have 10 sports competing at this Olympics at a high standard. Most of them are on the cusp of qualifying and we will know at the end of March if our 10 in 20 campaign will be realised,” Samuda said.

Optimistic

“I am very optimistic because we have a gymnast that has already qualified, we have a karate person that has almost qualified, and we are looking for those six other sports that are on the cusp of qualifying, to qualify, and to do so in the next two months,” Samuda continued.

Samuda, who has led the JOA since 2017, said as an administrator, it gives him great pleasure to see Jamaican athletes representing on the world’s biggest stages, and he looks forward to seeing more historic Olympic appearances and performances from Jamaican sportsmen and women.

“We are administrators and if our athletes are not there, we have no business. So we have to really appreciate the primary asset, the athletes, and understand they have made a lot of sacrifices to represent the country and advance Brand Jamaica. We can do it (qualify 10 sports). We have a wealth of talent in Jamaica that is untapped and one of the primary objectives of the JOA is to unearth the talent we have here and transition that to the international stage,” Samuda noted.

“We have seen many examples over the years, but what we want to do now is to ensure that we give the younger generation all the opportunities that they possibly can get, and nurture and educate them and ultimately inspire them,” he stated.

At the last Olympics, Jamaica was represented in four disciplines, track and field, diving, swimming and gymnastics, and Samuda says that the nation’s appearance in untraditional sports, such as gymnastics and diving, can be bettered.