Salute to Athletes a Fitting Tribute – Minister Grange

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (Right), sharing a light moment with Custos of Trelawny, Paul Muschett, on October 16 at a reception at the Melia Braco Hotel in honour of Jamaica’s Olympic athletes.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the three-day celebrations in honour of Jamaica’s Olympic athletes was a fitting tribute to those who have given so much to the country.
  • Addressing scores of well-wishers at a reception held at the Melia Braco Hotel in Rio Bueno, Trelawny, on Sunday (October 16), Minister Grange said it was also appropriate that western Jamaica got to be a part of the celebrations.
  • Minister Grange noted that Jamaica can only build on the foundation that the athletes have laid, adding that her Ministry intends to collaborate with other stakeholders, both public and private, to ensure that “we fully capitalise on all the opportunities that are at our fingertips”.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the three-day celebrations in honour of Jamaica’s Olympic athletes was a fitting tribute to those who have given so much to the country.

Addressing scores of well-wishers at a reception held at the Melia Braco Hotel in Rio Bueno, Trelawny, on Sunday (October 16), Minister Grange said it was also appropriate that western Jamaica got to be a part of the celebrations.

“Our athletes have given us so much joy… so much to be thankful for. The turnout here tonight is really a show of appreciation for their exploits in Rio, Brazil, and how much they mean to us as a nation,” she said.

The celebrations kicked off on Friday, October 14 with a reception hosted by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness at Jamaica House. It was followed on Saturday by the Rio Gala and

Awards Ceremony at the National Indoor Sports Centre, culminating with the Jamaica National 5K Run/Walk charity event in Falmouth and reception at Melia Braco.

Minister Grange noted that Jamaica can only build on the foundation that the athletes have laid, adding that her Ministry intends to collaborate with other stakeholders, both public and private, to ensure that “we fully capitalise on all the opportunities that are at our fingertips”.

For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in praising the athletes, said his Ministry is already exploring ways to tap into the lucrative sports tourism market. He informed that he continues to engage in regular discussions with Minister Grange to see how best both ministries can collaborate.

“Our athletes represent the best of what is right with Jamaica,” he said. “Everywhere we go in the marketplace, they are the ones that have been generating most of the interest. It is very easy for us to take for granted that we have the fastest man and the top woman in the world, but believe me, the rest of the world has been taking notice,” he noted.

Mr. Bartlett pointed out the reverence with which sporting icons are held across the world and that tourists are inclined to flock to their places of birth to interact and get close to those who know them best.

“This is what sports tourism is all about,” he stressed. “People will want to come here to be close to the Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce mystique, wanting to know about their history, the food they eat and their training methods. It is the same way persons flock to Brazil because of Pele and Neymar or to Argentina because of Maradona and Messi, and so on. There is this thing about sporting greats that attracts people. We have to be mindful of this and do our part in tapping in on that market,” he pointed out.

Coach Stephen Francis of MVP Track Club spoke about the sacrifices and hard work the athletes have to endure, almost around the clock, adding that the three-day celebrations in their honour were truly a humbling gesture.

“It shows that we care and appreciate what they do for us as a country,” he said. “The gathering here tonight is a true testament to the love we have as a people for our athletes,” he added.

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