JIS News

Some 350 senior citizens are expected to converge on the Mona Bowl at the University of the West Indies on Thursday, August 16 to participate in the fourth staging of the National Senior Citizens Sports Day.
The event will be held under the distinguished patronage of Dr. Cynthia Thompson, Jamaica’s first female Olympian, and is organized by the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) under the theme: ‘Promoting Active Ageing’.
Speaking with JIS News, Parish Organizer of the NCSC for St. Andrew, Beverley Edwards, noted that the competition is aimed at encouraging seniors to become active, as well as promoting the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
“It is to help seniors to live healthy lifestyles and to show that life does not stop at 60. After 60, they are still useful and can contribute to their community. It is also to build them physically, spiritually, morally and let them have fun,” she informed.
The sports day will see representatives from all 14 parishes vying for prizes, as well as an opportunity to represent Jamaica at the upcoming Regional Senior Games, from September 20 to 23 in Barbados.
Commenting on the response over the years to the event, Mrs. Edwards said that the support from both participants and spectators has been very good and the event continues to gather momentum.
She also attributed the increased interest in the event to the excellent performances of the local senior citizens team on the regional track circuit. “Each year we go overseas and we do well and people get to know about us and they want to participate,” she said.
“When we came back from Trinidad last year we did exceptionally well. We placed second out of five countries. Other states were Trinidad, Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia. We secured 20 gold medals, 21 silver and 11 bronze and we won the oldest female award,” she told JIS News.
Chairman of the Sports Planning and Organizing Committee at the NCSC, Major Desmond Clarke noted that the day’s event was set to get underway at 9:45 a.m. and the opening ceremony would commence at 11:45 a.m., with greetings from the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier.
According to Major Clarke, the athletes are placed into five categories – 60 to 64 years; 65 to 69 years; 70 to 74 years; 75 to 79 years and 80 and over. “Each parish has its own run off and from those games they choose two persons from each age group to represent them at the island games,” he said.
“We have track events from 50 metres to 1,500 meters as well as field events, such as shot putt, discus and cricket ball throwing,” he added.
The NCSC is an agency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and works with a number of local and international agencies to implement programmes to facilitate maximum participation of senior citizens in activities, which serve to enhance their well-being.

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