Alan Beckford launches bid for JOA presidency

Alan Beckford launches bid for JOA presidency

Thursday, August 13, 2020

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After recently expressing his dissatisfaction with the direction of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), former director Alan Beckford has now launched a course for change as he signalled his intent to challenge President Christopher Samuda for the office in the election due next year.

Beckford, who has been a director for seven years, resigned his post on July 12, citing displeasure with the direction of the organisation, while noting that he needed time to reflect.

According to Beckford, the JOA that he envisions is one that is athlete-centred and is able to foster and increase stakeholder partnerships, including with Government. Those, he said, are just two of the key components that will be the centre of his campaign in the run for office.

His other areas of focus is on communication with member associations and getting feedback on plans and projects, corporate partnerships, management of expenditure to ensure value for money, accountability and transparency and all elements of team management.

“It is important to give national service, and I think I have a vast amount of experience in sports and all the skill sets required to lead the JOA.

“This is an opportunity to give back to my country and the sporting community, with my good understanding of all aspects of sports for over 40 years, including team management. So I have the qualifications, skill and desire to perform credibly as president of the JOA,” Beckford told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Beckford, who is a past student and former long-distance running star at Jamaica College and a key organising member of road races in the island, is the vice-president of the Jamaica Triathlon Association and the International Triathlon Association and has been a member of the Jamaica Athletics Administration Association (JAAA) for over 20 years.

True to his passion for running, he is a founding member of the Jamdammers Running Club, where he advocated for the development of long-distance running in Jamaica.

An International Amateur Athletic Foundation (IAAF)-certified coach and International Swimming Federation (FINA)-certified official, Beckford has officiated at local and international meets, including the World Junior Championships and World Challenge events.

He created history by becoming the first official from the English-speaking Caribbean to officiate in the triathlon at the Olympic Games in 2016.

Beckford, who has a master's degree in business administration, served on a number of boards, including the CHASE Fund, Overseas Examination Commission, HEART Trust/NSTA and Jamaica College.

Given his wealth of experience, Beckford pointed out that he has an understanding of what athletes need in terms of hydration, accommodation and nutrition, among other facets.

“I am on the board of INSPORTS [Institute of Sports], worked at SDF [Sports Development Foundation], and over many years, have built relationships with ministry and national federations, so I know how important those types of relationships are to the work of the JOA and athletes.

“My finance, audit and management background and work experience gives me the skills needed to manage expenses and get value for money, accountability and transparency,” Beckford reasoned.

That said, Beckford expressed optimism that members will buy into his vision, but win or lose, he remains committed and willing to join forces for the greater good of sports.

“I will continue to serve and build sports no matter the capacity, as the president of JOA or as a volunteer,” declared Beckford.

— Sherdon Cowan

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