Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
The Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) is poised to receive a shot in the arm after receiving a commitment of $7m from Petrojam on Friday towards hosting the CARIFTA Swimming and Water Polo Championships and helping to offset the cost of repairs to the National Stadium pool.
"We have got a commitment from Petrojam, but we have not got the cheque as yet," president of the ASAJ, Martin Lyn, shared. "They (Petrojam) have committed to a sum of $7m, but it is not all for CARIFTA, as some of it is for repairing the pool.
"To stage CARIFTA costs in the region of $25m, but the thing is that other countries pay to come to CARIFTA and that adds up to $18m. So usually there is a shortfall of five to seven million dollars."
The pool has recently been equipped with new starting blocks, a brand new scoreboard, touch pads and the entire pool has been tiled over.
"At this point in time 19 countries have confirmed, but two other countries that have not confirmed have sent requests for officials, so clearly, if their officials are coming they are coming as well. One of those countries is Trinidad," Lyn revealed. "So when these countries descend upon Jamaica we are going to be way ahead of where we were when we hosted CARIFTA last (time)."
The ASAJ has also received assistance from Island Grill, Capri-Sun and Digi Point, which contributed US$1.8m towards the pool's infrastructure and installing a new scoreboard.
The ASAJ has not only been depending on contributions from corporate Jamaica, but has been engaging in various fund-raising ventures, with the latest scheduled to be a 'Celebrity Pool Splash' to be staged next Sunday, March 10, at the National Stadium pool.
Various celebrities such as Alia Atkinson, Warren Weir, Theodore Whitmore, Andrew Price and Michael Frater will take to the water between 10 a.m. and noon, to be followed by an afternoon lyme with Beenie Man slated to perform.
"The concept for the 'Celebrity Pool Splash' came about during a fund-raising planning meeting for CARIFTA, knowing that we need to raise funds," Gillian Haughton, a member of the marketing and PR swimming committee for CARIFTA, said.
"So we are trying to find money from all angles; so we decided we would have some celebrities come and swim in the pool while raising funds."
It will cost the general public $500 to enter the event, with tickets available at the stadium pool office.