Wed | Sep 22, 2021

JGA bemoans lack of support for equipment drive

Published:Wednesday | March 31, 2021 | 12:17 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaican gymnast Toni-Ann Williams competes at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Jamaican gymnast Toni-Ann Williams competes at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Jamaica Gymnastics Association’s (JGA) cry for support in acquiring much-needed equipment for its young gymnasts has not been gathering the momentum President Nicole Grant-Brown would have desired as yet.

However, with 60 days to go before the target date expires, Grant-Brown is hopeful they will at least accomplish some success.

The association currently requires more than US$32,000 (J$4.6 million) to purchase the equipment they need.

They have also started a gofundme account to assist their efforts but to date they have had only a mere 12 contributors and a total of US$1,100 (J$160,000) of the required amount.

Nevertheless, the JGA boss remains positive, especially now that international gymnasts Reiss Beckford, Caleb Faulkner, Toni-Ann Williams and Danusia Francis have joined the campaign.

“It has been going slowly but it has been positive as we have been getting a few calls, so we are hoping that by the target date, we have at least one piece of equipment,” Grant-Brown told The Gleaner.

“We have Reiss Beckford and Caleb Faulkner, two of our main male athletes. Caleb has qualified and gone to the Olympics. We also have Toni-Ann Williams, our 2016 Olympian, and Danusia Francis, our qualifier for the current Olympics.

“From day one they have been very interested in the development of local talent, they want to ensure that when they go out, there are not only international kids but local kids as well,” she added. “We are happy that they are on board and we hope this can motivate people to support our equipment drive.”

She explained that the volume of work the young gymnasts are required to perform have made the current equipment worn and in need of replacements.

Although the equipment drive has slowed down training, the association hopes their effort is not in vain and that the campaign will bear some fruit.

“We hope the window where we are doing the campaign will help us gain some of the equipment, but we know that a year of training can be messed up by two weeks of rest, so we can’t afford for them to be out of training for too long a period either,” said Grant-Brown.

However, she hopes that by June they will secure some of the equipment, so that they can start preparing rigorously for upcoming international youth competitions and qualifiers.

“During summer, the gymnasts are at the gym for at least eight hours, so we need to have it (equipment) before summer so we can prepare the programme. We are working to ensure that we have youngsters in the programme that can actually compete at the junior elite stage like Junior Pan Am and Junior Olympics.

“In order to get there, they have to have the skills to compete and not just show up at a meet, so we need them to be at a level to be able to compete. So we hope to get it before summer because that is when the training increases and they are at the gym for most of the day,” she stated.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com