Jamaican Ebony Drysdale-Daley made history for Jamaica and the Olympic Games when she qualified to compete at the 2021 Olympics in the sport of judo. Drysdale-Daley, 26, will competed in Tokyo on July 28, 2021, in the women’s 70-kg category. Her qualification was confirmed on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, when the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) received a message from Szandra Sdogedi, the secretary general of the Jamaica Judo Association stating that Drysdale-Daley “has made history for Jamaica and has qualified for the Olympic Games.” This is the first time an athlete representing Jamaica will competed in the judo event. Drysdale-Daley is based in Britain and first made Jamaican history in judo in 2019 when she won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games Judo Championships in Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Christopher Samuda, the president of the JOA, said that Drysdale-Daley’s qualification is a “personal victory of courage, commitment, inspiration and faith and a nation’s pride.” He added that the JOA, which had created a campaign to promote Jamaican representation in diversified sports in Tokyo, is grateful to the Judo Federation president Dwayne Barrett and to Secretary General Sdogedi who “inspire excellence in athletes and coaches.” Ryan Foster, the secretary general and CEO of the JOA, said Drysdale-Daley’s achievement was a “marvelous feat,” adding that he was very happy about her Olympic qualification.
The Jamaican Judo Association was launched in 2018 when the country was admitted as a member of the JOA for the first time. Barrett and Sdogedi had a vision for the sport, which was strongly supported by the Jamaican association. The JOA funded the Olympic campaign and development of judo in Jamaica, and Drysdale-Daley’s qualification represents the result of the organization’s dream, according to Foster.
With the qualification in judo, Jamaica has raised the number of sports disciplines in which it will compete at the Tokyo Games to five. Jamaica was already slated to compete in track and field, boxing, gymnastics, aquatics (diving), and swimming.
Foster reiterated the JOA’s commitment to investing and spending resources on Jamaica’s athletes and to “bring dreams to reality” in whatever sports discipline they pursue, whether in traditional or non-traditional sports.
Photo Jamaica Judo Association