The Government has pledged a $10 million boost to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Senior and Junior Championships which will take place at the National Stadium from July 6-9.
Sports Minister Olivia Grange made the announcement during the championships’ launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday.
Minister Grange also revealed that an additional $25 million will be committed by the Government to support the preparations for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, scheduled to be held from August 19 to 27.
The National Senior and Junior Championships hold great importance for Jamaica’s senior athletes, who will be aiming to secure spots in the 19th World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Meanwhile, their junior counterparts will be competing for selection in the NACAC Under-18 and Under-23 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica (July 21-23), the Pan American Under-20 Athletics Championships in Puerto Rico (August 4-6), and the Under-18 Commonwealth Youth Games in Port of Spain, Trinidad (August 6-9).
Reflecting on Jamaica’s impressive track record, Minister Grange emphasised that the Government’s contribution through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) signifies their unwavering support for the country’s athletes. She stated, “As our athletes step up to the line to compete and secure their spots at the respective international meets, we want to assure them of their nation’s and government’s complete and unwavering support. We want to remind them that we are grateful for their work and contribution to the national pride.”
Minister Grange further emphasised the athletes’ representation of Jamaica and their responsibility as ambassadors. She encouraged them to compete with integrity and pride, stating, “You are some of the best in the world, both at the junior and senior levels, and when you compete, you compete hard, you compete fair, and play by the rules. Always remember that you are first your own ambassador and then your family, your community, and of course your country.”
JAAA president Garth Gayle called upon spectators in Jamaica and abroad to support the athletes as they strive to represent Jamaica with distinction on the global stage.
“I plead with spectators to fill the stands with your fervor, vigour, and unflinching support. Your presence plays an important role in fostering that ideal environment to inspire the athletes to greater heights. Let’s not overlook the strength of unity, sports provide a wonderful environment for uniting people, breaking down barriers, and promoting respect in a current society that is needed now. So, we want all Jamaicans to journey and come enjoy four days of excellent competition,” Gayle said.
Gayle expressed appreciation for the Government’s and other stakeholders’ support. “We appreciate your constant dedication to the development of athletics in Jamaica and find your effort to be genuinely admirable. The National Senior and Junior Championships is a positive proof of how talented Jamaicans are and why we are regarded as a powerhouse in the world of athletics.”