Committee being set up to honour athletes
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said yesterday in the House of Representatives that a committee is being set up to find ways of recognising the achievements of the Jamaican athletes who placed second in the medals table at the recently concluded World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.
Simpson Miller, responding to a call from Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, said a member of the Opposition is being invited to sit on the committee.
In a statement in the House, Simpson Miller expressed hope that the "example of our athletes continues to be a source of glorious, positive transformation in the life journey of our nation and our people".
Jamaica dominated the championships, winning 12 medals, with an all-time high of seven gold, two silver and three bronze.
"I am so proud of this memorable performance of all my children and Jamaica's young men and women during the entire championship," the prime minister said.
"In the journey for greater national development, the entire nation can take inspiration from the examples of hard work, discipline, teamwork and determination demonstrated yet again by Jamaica's athletes," she added.
Holness said Jamaica owed a debt of gratitude to the athletes, arguing that the country could not pay for the exposure of the national brand as a result of the exploits of the athletes.
"Every time the name Jamaica was called on the world stage, someone who never knew of this small Caribbean island is now aware. That is brand positioning that we cannot pay for," the opposition leader said.
"We have to now move one step further and do something tangible to honour and memorialise the works and contribution of our athletes," Holness added.
Simpson Miller said triple sprint champion Usain Bolt has cemented his place at the very pinnacle of sport and "ranks among, if not above, all other all-time greats in global sporting history".
She added: "I salute Usain as a national brand ambassador extraordinaire, not only for taking the best of Jamaica to the world, but also for his superb representation of the best of athletics and sports in general."
Of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won gold in the 100 metres and anchored the 4x100m team to victory, Simpson Miller said she continued to represent Jamaica with distinction and remained consistent in her representation of personal and national excellence.
"She continues to inspire the Jamaican nation and people. She is forever reminding us that we are all capable of achieving greatness if we dream big and apply ourselves steadfastly to the accomplishment of our ambitions," she said.
Of the other individual gold medallist, Danielle Williams, the prime minister said her performance underscored that "Jamaica's long-term future in global athletics is secure".