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In a special attempt to honour the achievements of the Jamaican gold medal winners at the Beijing Olympics, the Bank of Jamaica today (May 27) presented a number of them with souvenir gold coins.
At a ceremony at the BOJ Auditorium, the central bank Governor, Derick Latibeaudiere made presentations to Usain Bolt, Shelley-Ann Fraser, Melaine Walker and Asafa Powell.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter were absent.
Coins were also presented to the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, head of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Hon. Mike Fennell, head of the MVP Track Club, Mr. Bruce James, Usain Bolt’s manager, Mr. Norman Peart and Bolt’s coach, Mr. Glen Mills.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Grange said:”I congratulate you, the officers and staff at the Bank of Jamaica, for your decision to create a lasting memorabilia to give recognition to the phenomenal achievements of our athletes in Beijing.
“You know, there are some persons who feel that we are overdoing it when we continue to honour our athletes for their performance in these various ways.
“I believe that some achievements are worth so much that we must immortalise the moment because those moments usually become watershed and sometimes once in a lifetime moments.
“The truth is that the performance of our athletes in Beijing in the summer of 2008 could be compared to finding an oasis in a desert. It has given us as a country, a chance to exhale and awake to the real opportunities that can be derived from the wealth of talent that exists in our country.
“It gave us an opportunity to come together as a nation and to focus on the things that can unite us as a people around the things that matter to us.
“It has provided a boost for ‘Brand Jamaica’ in the world market, and renewed our spirit and commitment to introspect on using our own abilities and resources to overcome the challenges with which we are currently faced.
“Now, we have a glorious opportunity to re-market, re-brand and reposition our productive and service industries to exploit the opportunities that are surely coming.
“Through the launch of these coins, we can provide the world with memorabilia of our historic performance in Beijing. We have seen memorabilia coins launched of President Barrack Obama’s historic election to the US Presidency in recent time.
“Governor, I hope there will be a very high demand for these coins not only from Jamaicans at home and abroad in the Diaspora but also from collectors worldwide who I am sure will become aware of the release of these coins.
“They are a remarkable piece of memorabilia, a good investment and patriotic salute to our sports legends.”