KINGSTON — Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, says that the time has come for Jamaicans, including athletes, to capitalize on the country's dominance in track and field.
"It will require us to be serious that we want the financial gains that are commensurate with our position of prominence and dominance in this sport,” Miss Grange said in a message delivered by General Manager of Independence Park Limited, Major Desmond Brown, on Thursday August 4, at the Gleaner's special editors' forum on "Making Money in Track and Field", at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. The forum also launched the Gleaner’s "Daegu to London" athletics coverage.
Miss Grange said that an indication of Jamaica's seriousness about the subject would be that those who are involved arm themselves with the necessary information, know how and enthusiasm to get into the big game of making money from sports.
She said track and field entrepreneurs must see the platform and framework being provided by the Government, in the form of the National Sports Policy, as the launching pad for capitalizing on sports in Jamaica.
"Jamaica sits at the top of the world, as the most successful country per capital in track and field, thanks to the extraordinary performance of our athletes over the past 60 years…They collectively have propelled Jamaica into this enviable position," she said.
She added that, as a small country, Jamaica's success in track and field could be attributed to "the culture of a people who are resilient, talented, brash, bold", who believe they can accomplish anything, once they put their minds, heart and energy into it.
Guest speaker at the forum was Sports Management Specialist, and Manager for reigning world and Olympian 100 meters champion, Usain Bolt, Carole Beckford.
The Gleaner's "Daegu-to-London" Puma and Supreme Ventures Limited- sponsored project, which began in June, will give track and field fans the inside track on 12 major international and local meets over 14 months.
By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter