Satisfied Paralympic coach now looks to future
LONDON, England — Building on the success in the 14th Paralympic Games here in London, Jamaica's head coach Neville Sinclair says the Jamaica Paralympic Association is now looking forward to next year's International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships in France.
Jamaica's three-member team won one medal, a gold by Alphanso Cunningham in the Men's F52/53 javelin on Tuesday. And while the athletes combined to qualify for three other finals, they all came up short of the podium.
"As a coach you want to see more medals, but I am pleased with what we did here," Sinclair told the Jamaica Observer yesterday, a day after the Jamaica team ended their competition schedule.
Sinclair pointed out that two of the athletes, Cunningham who was fourth in the Men's discus throw F51/52/53 discus, Tanto Campbell who was fifth in the men's discus F54/55/56 were not too far off from getting medals.
Sylvia Grant was eighth in the women's' javelin F57/58,
"Everybody gave it their all out there," noted Sinclair.
Six athletes, including Toni Greaves, the winner of the F54 javelin at the US Trials in Indianapolis in June, Shane Hudson a single arm amputee who won the silver medal in the Para PanAmerican Games in Mexico last year and Javon Campbell who has very limited use of his left arm after an accident as a toddler, had arrived in the UK for the event, but due to a quota system by the IPC only three were able to take part.
For the first time in its 64 years history, the Paralympics were oversubscribed and the IPC put in a quota system that saw Jamaica only getting three spots, but Sinclair defended the decision to use Cunningham, Campbell and Grant. "This was the best decision, they all qualified and earned their places."
The next move, Sinclair said, was to "return home and get some rest then start preparation for the World Championships".
Sinclair, former Paralympic athlete, said the hope was that they would have more than just three athletes taking part. "Once they have qualified for the World Championships we hope we can get them here and we know we will win many medals," he said.
Meanwhile, Sinclair was full of gratitude to the many sponsors and well wishers who helped to get the team to London. He singled out the Observer for its coverage the event. "This was the first time we had the media with us and it made a big difference," he said. "The articles opened up the eyes of those who were not aware of what we did and those who had an idea learned so much more about what disabled sport is all about," he ended.