Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
The Gleaner's Daegu to London travelling photo exhibition will form the basis of what will become the national sports museum.
That's according to Minister with Responsibility for Sports Natalie Neita-Headley.
Neita-Headley was guest speaker yesterday during the opening of the Kingston and St Andrew leg of the exhibition dubbed 'Journey of Champions - 50 Years of Athletic Excellence'. The launch was held at the parish library.
Neita-Headley also said the exhibit will be part of a national sports exhibition at the National Arena during the Olympics and Independence celebrations.
"This exhibition will, no doubt, have its own distinguished place in our history. Already it has been helping to bring the nation together through sport, which is itself a most unifying force."
She urged young people on summer holidays to include a visit to the exhibit, which closes on July 13, in their vacation plans.
Other speakers heaped plaudits on the exhibition, a collaborative effort between The Gleaner, Scotiabank Jamaica and the Jamaica Library Service (JLS).
JLS Chairman Paul Lalor said the exhibition could not be more timely.
"We have a lot to be proud of as a nation, and we are very, very happy that The Gleaner and Scotiabank have given us the opportunity to showcase this ... but also to showcase some of our locations across the island and, hopefully through it, will (generate) interest in the JLS and what we have to offer to the youth of Jamaica," he said.
Custos of St Andrew Marigold Harding commended The Gleaner and JLS for embarking on the project.
"Thank you for helping to keep our standing history in athletics alive. I think the showcase is a wonderful gesture ... and I will consider it as a gift to the people of Jamaica as we get ready to celebrate our 50th anniversary as a nation."
Harding opined that the exhibition would serve as an inspiration to Jamaica's athletes and young people.
Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew Angela Brown-Burke said the 50th anniversary was a good time to reflect, and outlined the importance of sports in Jamaica
"At varying times in our history, our athletes have been beacons of hope, of inspiration for our people, a unifying force for us as Jamaicans and just something for which we can be really proud."
Hugh Reid, president of Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance, said the country has come a far way since 1948 when Jamaicans first participated in the Olympic Games, and thanked athletic pioneers for modelling excellence, and helping to positively develop the national psyche. The exhibition, though it highlights Jamaica's past, was taking place at a time when historic feats were happening in the present.
"The impact and value of this exhibition, therefore, is quadrupled," he said. "I can see how the world view of our young people who view this exhibition, and whose interest and abilities are outside of the arena of sports, can be expanded as they are inspired and motivated by these models of track-and-field excellence."
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Mike Fennell, in remembering the two recently deceased Olympians, Keith Gardner and George Kerr, hoped the public would grasp the opportunity of knowing more about the country's exploits.
"This (the exhibition) is something that is going right. Let us talk about it, let us praise those people, and let us relish in the glory they have provided for us."
CAPTION: Susanne Fredericks (left) explains the concept behind The Gleaner's Daegu to London travelling photo exhibition 'The Journey of Champions - 50 Years of Athletic Excellence' to Natalie Neita-Headley (right), minister with responsibility for sports in the Office of the Prime Minister, and Angela Brown Burke, mayor of Kingston, during yesterday's opening of the Kingston and St Andrew leg of the archival exhibition held at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library. - Ian Allen/Photographer