Essence of Jamaican Sports

As we watch the 2007 IAAF World Championship in Osaka, Japan, we see the best athletes in track and field in the world on show. Jamaica, a major force to reckon, has set Japan on fire with its bold energy and spark which is commonplace wherever Jamaicans go.

I heard Ludlow Watts in a radio interview state that at the training camp up to a week before the start of the championships, people journeyed up to three hours to watch the Jamaican athletes in training. That says a lot about the brand.

The essence of our sport should not only transcend what happens on the track or field of play, but also in the changing rooms and everywhere that athlete goes.

The question is what is the essence of Jamaican Sport? I know a lot of us have never thought about it, but I have a few suggestions.

Responsibility: taking control for one’s action and being a role model at all times under any circumstance

Respect: Recognising the contribution one makes to sport treating them with dignity and consideration, as well as caring for property and equipment; hence ensuring safety to all

Fairness: making the most honourable decisions at all times operating within the rules and regulations and not to use any unfair advantage/tactics

These can be some bases with which we carry out the practice of physical education in schools and should also be three areas of focus for athletes (at all levels), coaches, officials, administrators, management and the general public at large.

A lot of what we practice and INVEST in as a people will have great returns. Some of the returns include :

  • (more) top class athletes
  • positive stories on the success of Jamaican athletes
  • ability to attract more major events to Jamaica
  • economic growth and development

I think if we adopt and apply the factors of responsibility, respect and fairness across the board with all the stakeholders involved then we will be able to, over a period of time, feel the positive effects in sport development in Jamaica.

The governing bodies for sport in Jamaica should seek to adopt this positive initiative as we seek to pursue our nation as a place where sport and physical education is available to all.

Jamaica has to unite on this decision as we go forward to propel sport as a sector which requires greater effort and support from all those involved.

Note: Beijing will be the place to be for all elite athletes, August 8 – 24, 2008; another great year for sport on the horizon. Look out for Jamaica!

About the Contributing Writer
Journalist, lecturer, devoted mother and ardent sport activist, Carole Beckford, recently added the title “author” to her growing list of accomplishments when she launched her first book – Keeping Jamaica’s Sport on Track. This timely publication is a strong call to action for Jamaica to create a national sport strategy that will help maximize the performance of our athletes and craft a blueprint for future generations. The book will be available at Monarch’s Pharmacy in Kingston.