Darts body's thrust towards youth lauded by JOA


Darts body's thrust towards youth lauded by JOA

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has lauded the Jamaica Darts Association (JDA) for advancing efforts to expand participation among all given its alignment with the ideals of the Olympic Movement.

With the country set to host its first Caribbean Cup and Americas Cup darts championships in many moons and the sport pushing for a place at the Olympic Games, the JDA's thrust is also viewed as timely by the JOA's general secretary and chief executive officer, Ryan Foster.

Jamaica hosted the first three Caribbean Cup darts tournaments and registered a hat-trick of wins from 1976-78. They successfully topped the bidding process for this year's event, which will take place from July 17-27 at National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, with 14 countries confirmed for participation.

Speaking at the launch, which was held recently at the JOA's Kingston headquarters, Olympic Manor, Foster said: “This spectacle will be open to the public at no cost — a move that is indicative of the association's mandate to make darts open to all persons regardless of their age, gender, social, and economic status. This is extremely encouraging as this is also the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), our parent organisation. This is a very strategic move too, considering that the IOC has indicated the possibility of the incorporation of this sport in the 2024 Games.”

He added: “Also noteworthy is the federation's focus on the youth as participants in the sport and also as the next generation of leaders at the local and international levels. As such, the leadership team has engaged in the mentoring of young persons to help them develop the skills necessary for success as future leaders.”

At the forefront is Kailya Cheese, who emerged as girls youth champion at last year's Caribbean Cup. In the team competition, hosts Trinidad & Tobago won with 86 points ahead of Barbados (70) and The Bahamas (66). Jamaica finished seventh with 50 points.

“Jamaica is the home of the female youth champion and the sport is currently being practised in 16 schools across the island. Negotiations are under way for seven institutions to be added to this group. This, I understand, will allow the association to achieve its goal of starting a school league by 2022,” Foster informed. “The association also intends to have darts being played in all parishes within the same time frame.”

Delivering the keynote address, Courtney Campbell, president and CEO, Victoria Mutual, highlighted sports' value-added impact.

He said: “I congratulate the Jamaica Darts Association and the Jamaica Olympic Association on your continued enthusiasm in promoting darts in Jamaica and the region. Thanks and commendations as well to Wray & Nephew for your support of this well-loved sport.

“As residents of the Caribbean, and Jamaica particularly, we know very well the tremendous impact that sports can have on national development. In addition to inspiring national pride and self-belief, sport has lifted countless persons out of poverty and hardship,” said Campbell.

“It has long been that too-rare constructive outlet for many in crime-riddled communities, showing them a better way and giving them hope when all else seems hopeless. We have seen once-in-a-generation stars rise from places where few have ever ventured and inspire others around them to reach for greatness. The value of sports to us Caribbean people is really too great to be measured and that is why we must continue to support competitions like this one,” he reinforced.

Campbell further cited the tournament's advantages in uniting the athletes in friendly rivalry and showcasing the “remarkable skill and talent that resides in the Caribbean”.

“We are blessed in this region to have a rich and vibrant history of sporting achievements and we have produced more than our fair share of global sporting icons in various disciplines — from cricket and football to track and field and swimming, the Caribbean punches well above its weight in sports,” shared Campbell.

“The growth of this sport can only be a good thing for our people and will undoubtedly reveal more hidden stars and give them an opportunity to shine on a regional and international platform,” he added. “I wish all the best to the players and organisers and I'm sure the competition will be wonderful.

“JOA, I urge you also to work with other Olympic associations across the region in the spirit of building bonds that will last and blossom. Sports, as you know, can change the region and the world.”

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