Hear this, deaf athletes to compete in Canada
After over 90 years of non-participation, the stage has finally been set for Jamaica's deaf athletes to compete at an international sporting event, thanks largely to the efforts of Deaf Sports Jamaica (DSJ), a voluntary group which was established some three years ago.
Of course, as in all things, the road to this point has not been easy, but in this the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence, there is much to celebrate even as athletes Navarro Richards, Jason Campbell, Ricardo Rowe and Gavin Hobbs prepare to leave for Toronto for competition.
The team will be accompanied by DSJ president Kevin McDonald, coach Lloyd Green and chaperone Nelson Hobbs.
The WDAC, organised by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), will run from July 14-21, on the grounds of the University of Toronto and will consist of a total of 42 track and field events.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the chairman for the host committee, four-time deaf Olympian for Canada, Rohan Smith, is in fact of Jamaican origin.
Smith has for some time now been advocating the need for deaf athletes from his home country to become organised so as to establish their presence on the world stage.
For DSJ president McDonald, the struggles and many days and night of work have been worth it all as it is the fulfilment of a life-long dream.
"As president of DSJ, I know our athletics have a long way to go and a lot of training is needed. We started late in March of this year, normally they took years in training to prepare and be ready for games like this," he said.
"We know it is our first ever opportunity to participate in any game like this. At this point we are not about breaking any records and to be on top. Our goal is to compete, gain the experiences, and encourage young students/adults to participate in sports more," McDonald said.