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    • The sports associations of Jamaica and Tottori, Japan, have strengthened cooperation for the development of track and field programmes in both countries.
    • Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President, Dr. Warren Blake, and Tottori Athletic Association (TAA) Chairman, Shinichi Hamasaki, on Thursday (May 5), signed a Friendship Exchange Agreement to expand the sharing of knowledge and best practices for the benefit of athletes, administrators and coaches.
    • The agreement follows last month’s meeting of the sports administrators in Japan, where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to advance relations.

    The sports associations of Jamaica and Tottori, Japan, have strengthened cooperation for the development of track and field programmes in both countries.

    Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President, Dr. Warren Blake, and Tottori Athletic Association (TAA) Chairman, Shinichi Hamasaki, on Thursday (May 5), signed a Friendship Exchange Agreement to expand the sharing of knowledge and best practices for the benefit of athletes, administrators and coaches.

    The agreement follows last month’s meeting of the sports administrators in Japan, where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to advance relations.

    Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, welcomed the agreement, noting that it is expected to strengthen the entities’ nearly 10 years of partnership and cooperation.

    She was speaking at the signing ceremony held at the St. Andrew residence of Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Masanori Nakano.

    She noted that sport has been a pivotal part of the 52-year diplomatic relationship between Jamaica and Japan, which was established in 1964.

    She said Jamaican athletes have benefitted greatly from training camps hosted by the TAA ahead of the 2007 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan; the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China; and the 2015 World Athletics Championships, which was also held in Beijing.

    Ms. Grange pointed out that Jamaica’s 12-medal haul at the 2015 World Championships “is testament to the hard work that was accomplished through the partnership between our countries.”

    “I look forward to great exchanges as a result of this Friendship Exchange Agreement,” she said.

    For his part, Dr. Blake said the agreement demonstrates the ability of sports to “transcend…national borders, different cultures, and politics, (and) to truly unite nations and people in a way that only sports can.”

    “We look forward to the improvement in the athletic progress of both the city of Tottori and the people of Japan, and also the people of Jamaica,” he added.

    Ambassador Nakano also welcomed the expansion of “friendly bonds” between both countries, through the agreement.

    “It is my sincere wish that having signed the agreement, we will see intensive and extensive exchanges between the TAA and JAAA through sports,” he added.

    For his part, Mr. Hamasaki noted that Tottori’s athletes, administrators and coaches have benefitted significantly from sports clinics conducted by Jamaica’s representatives.

    He said the city wished Jamaica’s athletes well during this year’s Rio Olympics in Brazil.