The Government has earmarked some $5 million to assist with the fourth staging of the National 20/20 Community Cricket Competition, through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF).
Speaking at the competition’s official launch at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston, on Thursday July 22, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, reiterated the Government’s commitment to the development of sports.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (right) speaking with Chairman, Social Development Commission (SDC), Lloyd Pommells, during the official launch of the 4th staging of the National Twenty/20 Community Cricket Competition at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston, on Thursday (July 22).
Miss Grange said that sports channeled people away from anti-social behaviour, while uniting individuals despite the competitiveness.
“The greatest social intervention tool that you can find is sports. It is a unifying force, a wonderful tool to make people feel that, in spite of the competitiveness, at the end of it all, they are one; one people, one Jamaica,” she said.
She noted that more than 4,000 individuals, aged 14 to 50, participated in the event each year, with another 200 or more gaining seasonal employment as venue administrators and umpires.
She applauded the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the SDF for being critical agencies fostering and promoting sports development.
She thanked all who worked over the years to ensure a solid foundation was laid for the development of sports in Jamaica. She also encouraged everyone to support the competition, while urging other sponsors to come on board.
Miss Grange announced that the prize money for the competition had increased significantly since last year, with $500,000 going to the champions; $300,000 to the runners-up; and $150,000 for the third place.
Chairman of the SDF, David Mais, said that the 20/20 cricket was important, as it gave opportunities to young people across communities to participate in a game that is a great part of Jamaican culture.
President of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Paul Campbell, said that 20/20 cricket represents the changing face and landscape of cricket across the world.
“It is the version of the game that excites the spectators. It represents a sponsor’s dream; high intensity, opportunity to align your product for the cricketers,” he said, adding that more 20/20 cricket was being played than the traditional version.
Programmes Co-ordinator, Terrence Richards, said that the competition had become a “household name and a permanent fixture” in communities, islandwide.
He revealed that this year’s competition, which commenced on May 29, had witnessed a total of 396 teams representing over 420 communities in the four-month long competition.
Mr. Richards said that the competition would end on September 12, at Alpart Sports Club, Nain, St. Elizabeth.
In the preliminary round, an average 32 teams are registered per parish with knock-out rallies used to identify the top-16 teams from each parish, which will compete at the parish level to decide the national champion. Currently, 112 teams are competing to determine the 16 teams which will represent the parishes.
The Social Development Commission (SDC) National 20/20 Community cricket is an annual event, geared towards advancing community agenda, resulting in good governance, economic prosperity, a sustainable environment and social well-being.