Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
As Jamaica's athletic prowess takes over the world stage, some of the country's closest allies are looking to capitalise on Jamaica's expertise by sending their athletes to be trained here.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, as part of an ongoing programme, has announced that six young Colombian athletes from San Andres Archipelago, Providencia and Santa Catalina will undergo lectures in the development of Jamaican athletics under the Promotion Plan of Colombia abroad programme.
The six - three men and three women between the ages of 15 and 18 years - are scheduled to arrive in Kingston on October 2 and will depart four days later, October 6.
The programme will include visits to the training camp at the University of the West Indies (UWI), where World 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt trains, says Luis Lopez, administrative adviser, Department of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia.
Like the millions anxious to meet the country's star athlete, Lopez said it is hoped that the young Colombians will be able meet with Bolt and other personalities in the Jamaican athletic field.
The trip will also see them interacting with representatives from Jamaica's ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, Jamaican students who are learning Spanish, as well as participating jointly with young athletes in Kingston, in training sessions supervised by local trainers.
"This interchange will contribute to the development of athletics in San Andres and Providencia and will be the first in a series of sport diplomacy programmes by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Archipelago, which they hope will open a new area of collaboration between Jamaica and Colombia," asserted the administrative adviser.
Lauding the response he received from Jamaica, Lopez said his ministry's interest in sending a sports delegation from San Andres and Providencia was well received by the local authorities, which immediately made available their institutions, press offices and sport administrators to assist in the development of this initiative.
He noted that this was a project previously done by 80 youngsters from Apartado, Buenaventura, Istmina, Medellin and Monteria who participated in sport training sessions, meets involving great athletes, cultural activities and discussions with political and social leaders in Jamaica, Argentina, Uruguay, France and the United Kingdom during 2011, and continuing in 2012.