- The team amassed nine medals and placed third at the World Championship in Athletics in Moscow.
- Jamaica had its best-ever showing at an IAAF World Youth Championships in July ending with eight medals.
- The Government moved to strengthen and build the capacity of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), to improve its operations.
The year 2013 was one of outstanding achievement for sports in Jamaica, as the country’s athletes reigned supreme at the World Championship in Athletics held from August 10 to 18 in Moscow, Russia.
The team, led by scintillating performances from ace sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, amassed nine medals and placed third out of 33 competing countries.
The cache of medals comprised six gold, two silver and one bronze. Bolt and Fraser-Pryce were the toast of the competition, earning gold in the 100 and 200-metre sprints and ending the championships by anchoring the 4x 100 relay teams to victory.
For their outstanding performances the duo were crowned the IAAF Male and Female Athletes of the Year, at the prestigious gala award ceremony held in Monaco in November.
Not to be outdone were the special athletes, two netted medals at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee’s Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France in July.
Jamaica had its best-ever showing at an IAAF World Youth Championships in July ending with eight medals. The junior athletes earned six gold and two bronze medals, to top the medals table at a global track and field championships for the first time.
Upgrading of Sports Facilities
During the year, the Government signed an agreement, which will see $250 million being pumped into the infrastructural development of 23 high schools and community based sporting facilities across the island.
The High School Sports Infrastructure Improvement Programme is being facilitated through the collaboration of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Local Government. The project will see schools in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Portland, St. James, St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Clarendon, St. Thomas and Trelawny benefitting over the next two years from improvement in their sporting facilities.
There was also significant upgrading at the St. Catherine-based G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, where some $14 million was spent to rehabilitate the gymnasium there. Work included replacing of the floor, and extensive repairs to the roof.
Construction of a 50-metre pool had started at the institution, to serve as an alternative to the pool at the National Stadium. The college also started a part-time diploma programme for teachers, in physical education. A four-year bachelor’s degree in physical education was introduced at the institution, in October.
Health Benefits for Athletes
Minister with responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita-Headley announced plans to provide health insurance benefit to cover some 1,500 professionals in the first instance. The Minister said the plan, which also has provision for pension, forms part of Jamaica’s Sport Policy, which was developed to fuel success and enhance future development.
The Government moved to strengthen and build the capacity of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), to improve its operations.
Minister Neita Headley said that following a visit by a team from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in October, there was a commitment to “working closer together in partnership, to ensure that JADCO advances and becomes not only world class, but best in class.”
She said that the world anti-doping body has assured that it will collaborate with JADCO in the strengthening of its programmes and will also provide support for the establishment of the Commission’s new website, which is on track.
“Greater emphasis will be placed on communications, in order to improve the flow of information coming out of JADCO to the media and to the rest of the world in a more timely and responsive manner,” the Minister informed, while noting that the agency has engaged the services of a communications and public relations specialist.
A new Executive Director and Financial Director were also hired with a recruitment process undertaken for other vacancies to be filled.
Recommendations have been made for additional funding to support the Commission’s testing programme, and the development of the new website. JADCO plans to do 300 tests per year at an average of US$300 per test. “I believe this year we are seeking to add another 100 tests and to commence the process of blood analysis,” Mrs. Neita Headley informed.
The Minister noted that last year, 179 tests were done, as against 286 up to September this year. Approximately 45 per cent of these were done out of competition.
The Minister stressed JADCO’s compliance with the regulations. “We are not non-compliant at this time. I want to make that clear. We have never been non-compliant and I have never seen any report that has suggested that we have been non-compliant,” she emphasized.
“We stand resolute in our commitment to improve and strengthen the operations of our national anti-doping agency and we will make it the best in the world, commensurate with the level of excellence of our sportsmen and women,” Mrs. Neita Headley asserted.