Beckford quits JOA


Beckford quits JOA

...Says he's unhappy with direction of local Olympic body

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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Director of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Alan Beckford has resigned the post, citing his displeasure with the direction of the organisation.

“I don't think the direction is the direction that I think we should be necessarily going. I think that we need to be more athlete-centred and foster and increase stakeholder partnerships, including Government,” Beckford told the Jamaica Observer.

Beckford, who has been a director for seven years, resigned on July 12 saying he needed time to reflect.

“A lot of people don't know that you have a mother [Margaret Beckford] that is the first president of netball and a sister Jackie Walters, who was national swimming technical director,” Beckford pointed out.

“You are inculcated in a certain way when you have a mother who was a little white woman who used to take off her netball shoes on the courtside because the netballers don't have, so she figured she didn't need as a coach, but the player needed a shoe,” said Beckford.

“It's all about the athletes, they are the key stakeholders,” he added.

Beckford, a past student and former long-distance running star at Jamaica College, is a key organising member of road races in the island.

He is the vice-president of the Jamaica Triathlon Association and also the International Triathlon Association and 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 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 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/NTA and Jamaica College.

“I just want us as a country, in general, to focus on our athletes. But one thing's for sure, I love sports and whenever or whatever I am called on to do or volunteer, I will always come out,” said Beckford.

“But from a director's point of view, I don't see things going in the direction that I would like, but that's only my opinion and I am not here to debate with anybody because they have their own views in the direction to go,” Beckford explained.

— Howard Walker

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