Impress upon athletes, coaches the importance of remaining focused on getting job done

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April 20, 2020

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has encouraged its affiliates to use the 12-month postponement of the Olympic Games due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to strengthen their technical capabilities while promising to stay in touch with each member association pledging commitment “to realising success for your athletes”.

Despite some disagreements with the revision of some qualification requirements since the postponement of the Tokyo Games, Christopher Samuda, president of the JOA, told affiliates in a letter released on Wednesday, “Whatever may be the final decisions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Federations (IFs), let us impress upon our athletes and coaches the imperative of remaining focused on getting the job done and done well.”

The delay in the Games caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could be beneficial, he said, “time given, if used wisely, can be the mother of opportunities and an opportune script for success. If we accept this, then defeat is not an option.”

The Olympic Games which were due to be held this year, were moved by the IOC to 2021 after pressure from various sporting bodies and threats of withdrawal by some countries. Samuda said while some have expressed regret there has to be “an understanding of the primacy of life and the safety and welfare of lives”.

Samuda expressed optimism that there is a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that is the onset of the pandemic, and a chance to make the best of the situation. “Team, we will emerge from the present adversity stronger and with a greater will to succeed. Let us, therefore, seize the opportunity which has arisen to look critically at our technical programmes in ensuring their viability and sustainability, to implement enabling policy strategies and to hammer out business plans as we seek, as best as we can, to insulate ourselves from future risks of any type.”

According to Samuda, the recent successes of Jamaican teams was not by chance but through smart investments by the member associations. “Your national association has invested significantly in your athletes as we simply believe that it is right to do so in inspiring them to self-actualise and in giving you, our members, some capital in developing your sport,” he said.

“The historic medal haul achievements of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 2018 Central America and Caribbean Games and the 2019 Pan American Games, all of which saw the most participating disciplines and largest contingencies ever, give us more reason to stay the course with you and to have greater conviction in our mutual destiny.”

The JOA boss said the road to the Games next year would be a team effort and promised they would be there every step of the way. “The journey towards the Olympic Games in 2021 is a joint family enterprise, and we will continue to engage you and plan and meet with those of you whose athletes have either already qualified or are on the cusp of qualification. My directors and I are committed to realising success for your athletes and are grateful for your continued support,” ended Samuda.