JOA meets with young divers
When young men from Palmetto Grove in St Mary started jumping off a bridge, plunging approximately 80 feet into the river below, they had no idea that their show of skill would attract the attention of Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).
Samuda, who recently visited Palmetto Grove in Central St Mary with a team from the JOA, met with the team leader of the Grove Swimmers, 17-year-old Nathan Douglas and the rest of his daring divers.
Samuda used the opportunity to discuss training and mentorship opportunities, while encouraging the group of divers, who have expressed their interest in developing in the sport and representing Jamaica at the Olympic Games.
“It is quite obvious that they not only have the correct mindset, but they are determined to succeed, and are also fearless,” commented Samuda. “Once you have conquered fear, it is a good sign that you will be able to perform at your best. The first step is to get them into a programme and then we are going to import the expertise in terms of the coaches and so on. They have to learn first of all to swim properly and therefore they will definitely need the guidance and training to get them prepared.”
The youngsters, whose ages range from 11 to 30 years old, turned to diving off the bridge after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in them having more time on their hands than normal with disruptions to school and work schedules.
Samuda noted that the focus is on increasing the talent pool in the sport and providing the necessary support to the group.
“What we intend to do is to build a bank of talent as it relates to diving. They will be a part of that talent and what we need to do now is to train them to properly swim and to dive and then we are going to bring in the coaches in order to ensure that they can learn to swim properly and learn to dive. What we will be doing is to establish a sort of outpost here (in St Mary) and to try and construct a diving platform here, rather than having to let them come into Kingston to access such facilities,” Samuda added.
“That is why I am very happy that I have in my corner a team of dedicated individuals, who are committed to make plans for the future as it relates to identifying new talents in the various sporting disciplines. I am looking at Olympic 2024 and some of those youngsters in St Mary could very well be a part of that contingent. I am not just focusing on diving, but other areas including fencing, karate, swimming, and rugby,” Samuda said.
Douglas was grateful for the JOA’s response and says he is looking forward to moving ahead with their development.
“We are pleasantly pleased that the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association took time out to visit us here in Palmetto. It was a very good discussion and we are looking forward to even greater things as it relates to training and improving on our skills,” said Douglas.