JIS News

The Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS) has told Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee, that he can be assured of whatever support Jamaica can give as the United Kingdom prepares for the Olympic Games of 2012.
Mr. Coe, a champion British Olympic athlete of the 1980s making his first trip to Jamaica, paid a courtesy call on Minister Grange at her offices this morning (May 28). He was accompanied by top Jamaica and Regional sports administrator, Mr. Neville “Teddy” McCook.
Mr. Coe agreed with Minister Grange who said that “there will be a great relationship between my Ministry and your committee.”
The Minister explained to Mr. Coe who won gold in the 1500meter race at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and again in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, that sports is encouraged in Jamaica all the way from children are the early childhood stage. “Having this cradle has been largely responsible for us producing outstanding athletes in great numbers,” she said.
“Sports is of great importance to Jamaica, promoting togetherness of the people and helping in a very significant way to build pride in Jamaica.”
Miss Grange informed Mr. Coe that Jamaica would be the venue for a conference on sports policy in September 2008. She said the country’s prominence in sports had prompted UNESCO to request that this country be hosts for the conference and that the planning was underway. At the same time, she said, Jamaica was also in the process of developing a national sports policy.
She said also that Jamaica would welcome technical support from the UK in the establishment of its Anti-Doping Commission in Kingston.
For his part, the British Olympic champion who at one time was also a politician in the Conservative Party, said he was happy to be in Jamaica at last and that he had always been impressed by Jamaica’s ability to consistently produce world class athletes.
Mr. Coe said it was important now more than ever to reaffirm the international values of sports and he said that he would make sure that his organization was represented at the sports conference in Jamaica.
He said also that he would see what grants could be made available to Jamaica to help fund the upgrading of sports venues in the island.
Mr. Coe referred also to the significant contribution to sports in Britain made by residents there connected to Jamaica and he said that his organizing committee “wants to deliver the Games in London in such a way that communities will feel that they great access to them. Any Jamaican running in London in the 2012 Olympics will feel like running in front of his or her home crowd,” he said.