JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, which has produced some of the country’s most outstanding athletes and coaches in various disciplines, is adding wrestling to its programme offerings.
  • Principal of the St. Catherine-based institution, Dr. Joyce Graham-Royal says the introduction of wrestling at the college “will bring tremendous opportunity for students to be exposed to a new discipline.”
  • As part of preparations to introduce the sport, the college partnered with the Future Champs of Texas organisation to host a five-day wrestling workshop that attracted over 50 students from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, community members and persons interested in becoming instructors.

The G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, which has produced some of the country’s most outstanding athletes and coaches in various disciplines, is adding wrestling to its programme offerings.

“We have all the equipment that we need to ensure that this happens,” says Principal of the St. Catherine-based institution, Dr. Joyce Graham-Royal.

“We have the personnel as well to ensure that a broad-based foundation is set for this course,” she tells JIS News.

She says the introduction of wrestling at the college “will bring tremendous opportunity for students to be exposed to a new discipline.”

She notes that Jamaica is “filled with persons, who are naturally quick and we naturally run fast but we need to introduce other sports that we know we will do well in or that we know we can compete in at the Olympics. Wrestling is in fact an Olympic sport for both men and women.”

She says the objective is to train coaches, who would introduce the sport to children across the island.

Dr. Graham-Royal contends that if children are exposed to wrestling at an early age, by the time they get to Olympic-level competition “they will be excellent at it.”

“That is where we want to take it and the fact that it is linked to a tertiary institution makes it even better,” she says.

She notes that wrestling like other sports, offers benefits beyond improving physical health.

“You can gain many skills that our nation needs at this time, such as body awareness, self-confidence, mental toughness, team spirit and tolerance,” she points out.

As part of preparations to introduce the sport, the college partnered with the Future Champs of Texas organisation to host a five-day wrestling workshop from August 22-26.

 

It attracted over 50 students from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, community members and persons interested in becoming instructors.

Participants were exposed to the areas of coaching and competition, and engaged in the sport as a fun activity.

“We have engaged members of the community. Our school is in the middle of four communities that need a lot of support and so young men and small children have been involved in the process. In fact they are very excited about it…because they want it to continue,” Dr. Graham-Royal tells JIS News.

She informs that the institution has a memorandum of understanding with Future Champs to conduct more workshops.

Jamaican-born wrestling instructor Ricky Henry, who was part of the team, tells JIS News that  the participants were very responsive to the training.

“We talked about the strengthening and positioning of the whole body from the neck to your toes, what to eat before and after practice. We talked about warm-ups, how to warm the body and cool down after practice to bring your heart rate down; it is very important. We spoke about the history of wrestling,” he informs, noting that some of the participants want to become competitive wrestlers.

Mr. Henry, who is an accomplished wrestler, notes that sports have the potential to transform lives.

“Sports can help with upward mobility in society and I have found that wrestling has helped so many of my friends through high school, college and beyond. So that’s the reason for bringing it to G.C. Foster,” he says.

Mr. Henry, who grew up in Ontario, Canada, tells JIS News that being involved in wrestling as a youth helped to keep him out of trouble.

“Whenever I did get into trouble our wrestling coaches acted as mentors and really helped to guide us out of trouble,” he recalls.