Vishwanauth Tolan is grateful to his country for recognising him with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer, which he collected today (October 15), at King’s House.
Mr. Tolan was awarded for his contribution to the field of sports and sports development.
He tells JIS News that he is thrilled for being recognised for doing something which he loves, and also grateful for being able to contribute not only nationally, but also at the international level for the past 15 years.
Mr. Tolan says he always had a penchant for administration. “Somehow I always ended up managing or doing the administrative work. I wasn’t the greatest player, so I did what I could do best,” he adds.
He believes that his strong administrative skills have been the hallmark of his performance at various levels.
“I take my tasks very seriously and I want to believe that Jamaicans generally do very well administratively. It is in our DNA,” he says.
“This is all voluntary work. When it is done and you are recognised by your country, it is a great feeling. This is a great privilege that the country could have seen it fit to reward my work in this manner,” he says.
Mr. Tolan notes that his greatest achievements were in the field of badminton which he entered as a result of his son who started playing the sport in high school.
“I would drop him off, sometimes go to his training, and enquired how I could help the (Jamaica) Badminton Association (JBA). He was a pretty good talent and eventually went on to play for the Jamaican junior team. Based on this, I got involved with JBA and after two years I became the President,” he explains, adding that he has loved every moment if it.
He informs that it was recognition of his work at the national level by the Regional body that propelled him into administration at that level.
“The team was performing and all eyes turned on Jamaica, so I would like to believe that our performance there and the fact that we were doing well, were what led to me being invited to join the Pan-American Badminton Foundation (PBF) after being JBA President for one year,” he says.
Mr. Tolan says he would go on to become the General Secretary and when the President moved on, he got the post.
“That movement propelled me even further, into the Badminton World Federation as a Vice President, a position which I still hold today and will for the next five years,” he tells JIS News.
He also chairs the powerful administration committee, which deals with constitution, membership and human resource issues. He has also served as President of the Central America and Caribbean Badminton Association.
Mr. Tolan recalls with pride and distinction his experience of serving as the Chef de Mission to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, where he was tasked with the responsibility of attending to the welfare of the 63-member team.
This, he explains, came as a result of being First Vice President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) at the time.
Mr. Tolan, who is Deputy Chairman at GC Foster College for Education and Sport, in St. Catherine, says this is a role that is very dear to him, as he is the longest serving Board member, whose service has transcended numerous political administrations.
“My time with the college is something I am very proud of, as I have been able to be a part of the changes and the successes of the institution,” he says.
He serves the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) as a Commissioner and explains that his involvement with the JCDC came as a result of his extensive cultural work with the Indian community.
Mr. Tolan is Chairman of the National Council for Indian Culture in Jamaica and that he says has been a big part of his life’s work.