Chinese arrive to help boost Jamaican sport

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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Seven Chinese coaches from seven sporting disciplines, along with an interpreter and a team leader, touched down on the island on Thursday to assist Jamaica with their expertise.

The sports that will be provided with assistance are badminton, swimming, artistic swimming (synchronised swimming), women's football, women's basketball, volleyball and gymnastics. Their arrival is in response to an MOU signed between the governments of Jamaica and China late last year.The seven coaches – six males and one female – will spend a month on the island where they will work closely with various coaches in the different sporting associations. This in an effort to select the best athletes who will eventually head to China for two months, where they will receive further training.Jiang Lin, the head of delegation, while speaking through and interpreter to reporters shortly after arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport, outlined what his role was.

"As the team leader, my main work is to negotiate our MCGS and also our coaches work and also to ensure our coaches work together and then also to report to the Chinese Embassy and also to the Chinese government as well," he outlined.He also stated the two main aims of himself and his team while here in Jamaica."We have two main aims, the first, we want to be closer to the Jamaican athletes, to know about the athletes potential and then we can give them more technical and more professional advice for training and second we want to help the associations to select the potentials and talents so these athletes will go to China for training for two months to help them to choose the best ones," Lin advised.When quizzed about helping athletes qualify for the next Olympics, he suggested that it was too far off to state definitively, but also said that they would make every effort to do so. "It is very hard to say because there is still a long time left until the next Olympics, but we are trying to help the seven disciplines to be qualified to the next Olympics Games, we will try our best," he said.

Floret Blackwood, director of sports in the Ministry of Sport,s gave a complete outline of the involvement of the arriving coaches."They are persons who are lecturers, senior lecturers at sporting institutions in China and educational institutions and senior coaches in China with many years of experience. The focus will be in terms of the science of coaching. We know that the areas that they are involved in are areas that they are world beaters and so we expect that, based on their experiences working alongside our coaches, sharing skill sets particularly in terms of the scientific component of coaching that in the end we will definitely have a greater impact."She also indicated that Jamaica's leading sports tertiary institution, the GC Foster College, will play a part in the process."The idea is that not only will the athletes be exposed, but also our coaches so there will be joint training programmes. GC Foster College is involved in this process where they will work with our local coaches, with the Chinese coaches to see how best they can enhance both the curriculum as well as the practical training programme."Blackwood also suggested that there would be cultural benefits to the programme."We see this also as an important contribution to the social diplomacy programme whereby Jamaicans will also visit China, because the athletes and their coaches will visit China in the summer to continue the technical training programme also to promote our culture and exchange culture views as well, so it will be mutually beneficial in all respects," she reasoned.General secretary of the Jamaica Badminton Association, Antonio Bell, was thrilled to have the Chinese here on the island as they are the number one nation in the sport globally."To have the Chinese who are the paramount in badminton offering their expertise here is a big win for us.This will be immense for our push towards the 2020 Olympics and the 2014 Olympics. We are grabbing this with both hands and thanks to the Ministry of Sports for putting this together and we really, really appreciate this," he beamed."To have them imparting knowledge on the coaches will have a ripple effect across the sport. These are very well trained, experienced coaches so to have them offer their expertise to our local coaches is a win for Jamaica's Badminton," he concluded.The programme is at a value of US$7 million and is part of a larger grant programme from the Chinese as a gift to Jamaica.

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