Athletes to be Feted during Heroes Weekend


A grand cultural concert will highlight a short list of activities being staged by the government in partnership with the private sector, in honour of the country's athletes.

The celebratory events, slated to take place during the upcoming Heroes weekend, are to recognise the achievements of the 50 Olympians and 3 Paralympians, who made the country proud at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, respectively.

At a press briefing at Jamaica House held on October 3, 2012, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, informed that four activities are being planned, and special monetary gifts presented to the athletes at a cost of some $57 million.

The private sector is contributing some $20 million with the remaining amount being provided by the Sports Development Foundation, the CHASE Fund and the Office of the Prime Minister.

The concert, which is the main event, will be held at the National Arena on Heroes Day, October 15, starting at 7 p.m. and is free of cost to the public. It will be held under the theme 'Jamaica's Musical History Honouring Our Olympic Journey'.

"(This) main event will be a cultural celebration that will represent the best of Jamaican culture and will go through each era with the music of that time depicting our accomplishments," Mrs. Neita-Headley informed.

"We will start with mento and ska, right through the ages with rock steady and reggae and come all the way down to dancehall," she said.

The Minister also informed that due to the limited capacity of the National Arena, which can only accommodate 6,000 persons, the event will be streamed live via large screen televisions placed at strategic locations across the island.

"Most persons will be encouraged to view the event in their communities and at public venues at which large screens will be placed," she stated. Details regarding the availability of tickets will be announced at a later date.

The other activities are: a church service on Sunday, October 14, at 10 a.m. at the East Queen Street Baptist Church in Kingston, and later in the day, the Prime Minister will host a cocktail reception for the athletes on the lawns of Jamaica House. On Heroes’ Day, there will be the unveiling of a new headstone for late Olympian, Dr. Herb McKinley at Heroes' Park at 4:00 pm.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Supreme Ventures and Planning Committee Member, Dr. David McBean, informed that the 53 athletes and 23 officials will be presented with special monetary gifts as "a token of appreciation" during the grand concert.  

Athletes who received gold medals will receive $1 million; silver medal, $750,000; bronze, $500,000; all athletes, who made an Olympic final will receive $350,000; while other participants will receive $250,000. Each Olympic official will also be presented with a cheque for $100,000.

Additionally, the relay teams will receive: $3 million for gold; $2.4 million, silver; and $1.8 million for bronze. Special awards for World Records and Olympic records will be announced and presented at a later date.

Mrs. Neita-Headley also informed that the government will cover the costs of airfare, accommodations, and meals for the 21 athletes and three Olympic officials residing overseas. Athletes and officials from rural Jamaica will also be provided with accommodation in Kingston to facilitate their participation in the events. The Jamaica Hotel Tourist Association (JHTA) will assist in this regard.

The activities are being organised by the Ministries of Tourism and Entertainment, and Youth and Culture; Jamaica Tourist Board, and the Sports Development Foundation.

Private sector sponsors include: Digicel, Lime, Supreme Ventures, Jamaica National Building Society, GraceKennedy Limited, Wysnco and Stewart's Motors BMW.

JIS Social