Mahfood supports JOA call for sports as catalyst of change

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July 15, 2019

William Mahfood, Chairman of the Wisynco Group, is advocating strong support for the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) initiative to use sports as a catalyst for change in society.

Mahfood shared his views while delivering the keynote address at the JOA’s lecture series, which forms part of its celebrations for Olympic Week, at Olympic Manor, the JOA’s Cunningham Avenue headquarters in Kingston, on Wednesday evening.

In a presentation centered around the theme for Olympic Week – Move, Learn, Discover – Sports as a catalyst for social change, Mahfood commended the JOA for choosing a very pertinent, thought-provoking and actionable topic for this momentous occasion.

He said: “Ladies and gentlemen, this evening I charge every one of us present to work assiduously to inculcate the spirit of sports and sportsmanship in every child in Jamaica – for glory in sports goes beyond the medals and the limelight. Sports is a vital catalyst for community development, social and behavioural change, for honing and building Jamaica’s future leaders.”

He highlighted the success of the nation’s athletes in a number of different disciplines, namely track and field and football, and pointed to the transformational impact it has made on society by influencing behaviour patterns through grassroots development.

“It is evident that the investment made early in life, from sowing that seed to see it grow strong, take roots and become a robust tree, the returns have been high and consistent. These investments in sports have impacted our culture positively,” he said.

In track and field, for instance, Mahfood referenced preparatory work for foundation events like Sports Day, ‘Champs’ and Penn Relays, and for football, the Reggae Boyz, to further strengthen his point on the wide-scale spin-offs that come from sports’ regimentation, practice, and achievement.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, speaks to social change – how children evolve into responsible adults, how sports assists in their growth and helps them to mature. These interactions impact them throughout their life; preparing them to be able to work effectively with people of many different characteristic traits as well as understanding the need for inclusion.”

“Sports in any form bring about a sense of competition. Crucially, it teaches us ethics, integrity, and ambition; there is that adrenaline rush in sports, it challenges us – and above all sports is a medium that brings about positivity through achievement,” reasoned Mahfood.

Mahfood also emphasised the need for more focus on developing girls and women in sports.

He said: “It is ironic, that Jamaica, which boasts one of the largest percentages of women business leaders anywhere in the world, has sports like women’s football, netball, cricket and swimming that are struggling to find resources and support – this must change.”

Head of the JOA’s leadership, President Christopher Samuda and General Secretary and CEO, Ryan Foster, who have been driving a revolutionary change for the way in which the JOA operates both as a business and towards uplifting society, endorsed Mahfood’s message