JIS News

The enthusiasm generated by Jamaica’s record breaking Olympic team to the Beijing Summer Games in China in August continued last weekend, as scores of Jamaican nationals and friends of the Diaspora turned out to participate in activities staged across south Florida, to honour the athletes’ achievements.
Accolades, punctuated by screams of excitement, filled the air as patrons greeted triple sprint Gold medalist and world record holder, Usain Bolt; along with fellow Gold medalists, Michael Frater and Melaine Walker; Silver medalist, Sherone Simpson; and Bronze medalist, Rosemary White, at a Gala at the Sunrise Ballroom in Fort Lauderdale on October 25. The team was accompanied by President of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA), Howard Aris and Mrs. Aris.
Other well supported events, which were held in the athletes’ honour, include: a church service at the Pentecostal Tabernacle in North Miami, and a ‘Fun Day at the Park’ at Sunrise Park.
The events were organised by community associations, spearheaded by the Jamaica United Relief Association (JURA), and incorporating several alumni associations. These included: Cornwall College, Jamaica College, Dinthill Technical High School, Rusea’s High School, and Vere Technical High School. Other bodies which were involved in organising the activities were: the Partners for Youth Foundation, and Douglas Chiropractic Centre.
Speaking at the Gala, Jamaica’s Consul General to South Florida, Sandra Griffiths, praised the athletes’ achievements at the 29th Olympiad, which she said earned for Jamaica, and the Caribbean, the distinction of being acknowledged as a sprint powerhouse.
She noted that three of the 11 medals mined by the team, were achieved in record-breaking performances, adding that Jamaicans everywhere were proud of all of the athletes’ achievements.
“We can attest to the career commitment, and fixity of purpose that culminated in the defining moments in Beijing for Usain and fellow Olympians,” Mrs. Griffiths said to tumultuous applause.
The Consul General also praised the athletes for being excellent ambassadors of Brand Jamaica, the popularity of which, she noted, has soared to “euphoric heights” in recent times, spurred, particularly, through sports, and the country’s exploits at the Beijing Games.
The athletes were presented with proclamations from the City Commissions of Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill, by State Representatives-elect, Commissioner Hazelle Rogers, and Commissioner Dale Holness, respectively. The group also received presentations from other Jamaican-based community organisations.
The special thanksgiving service on October 26 at the Pentecostal Tabernacle, which members of the delegation were special guests, was officiated by Jamaican national, Pastor Robert Stewart.
Later that day, they were feted during the fun day in the Sunrise Park, where they interfaced with nationals and friends of the Diaspora, while participating in autograph signings and photographic opportunities. They were then bestowed with honours by city and public officials of several South Florida communities, before departing for Jamaica.
The events staged for the delegation, were fundraising activities, the proceeds of which will go towards the JAAA, and the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), to undertake projects and sports programmes in schools, and community youth groups throughout the country.
Earlier, last week, the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board, in tandem with several community associations and corporate entities, also staged several ‘Meet and Greet’ events, in honour of Michael Frater, Sherone Simpson, Nesta Carter, and Trinidadian Olympic Silver medalist, Richard Thompson.