J'can swimmers, basketballers depart for Chinese programme

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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The Jamaica to China Exchange programme is now in full swing with a number of athletes from various disciplines already in the East Asian nation working to improve their craft.

A 15-member swimming team and a group of basketball players are now set to join their compatriots in China and they were scheduled depart the island yesterday for a 60-day stint under the Jamaica/China Technical Cooperation Project on Sports Coaching.

The swim team is expected to be accompanied by manager Georgia Sinclair and coaches Rory Alvaranga and Ishmedo Wolfe, along with liaison officer Andrea Hanson. Both teams are scheduled to return on September 5.

With aquatics being one of the seven sporting disciplines under the project, the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) is delighted to be involved and is working along with Minister of Sports Olivia Grange to ensure its success.

Gymnastics, football, badminton, volleyball and basketball are the others.

“The ASAJ is excited about the benefits to be derived from this programme. We are appreciative of the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport for conceptualising this programme and having the vision to partner with the Chinese Government to provide the technical support to advance the sport of swimming,” Sinclair, who is the vice-president of swimming in the ASAJ, told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

“It is expected that the swimmers will realise improved performances in their times as the programme will also emphasise stroke technique. The theoretical underpinnings of the programme will increase swimmers' knowledge and better understanding of the sport which should then translate into application of the techniques learnt,” she added.

While in China, these teams will undergo rigorous training, both theory and practical sessions, and will also have the opportunity to compete. They will train at world-class training venues that have state-of-the-art facilities, including indoor Olympic pools, dining facilities, fully equipped gym and first-class accommodation.

The swim team will train at the Haigeng sports training centre, the largest of its kind in China located in Kunming City and sits at an altitude of 1,889m above sea level, which offers the opportunity for high performance.

The goal of this three-year project, scheduled to culminate in 2020, is to improve the skill level of local athletes and coaches through this intervention, thus leading to improved performances and increased opportunities for advancement in the sporting disciplines identified.

It is also expected to strengthen sport exchange and cooperation between Jamaica and China, as well as to assist Jamaica in preparing athletes for regional and international competitions.

“The coaches are also expected to immerse themselves in the new and various training approaches and return to transfer that knowledge to other coaches. China is a powerhouse in swimming and I am excited about the prospects that this programme will bring to an improved level of performance at regional and international meets,” Sinclair noted.

Coach Alvaranga echoed similar sentiments.

“I am very excited about the Jamaica/China Technical Assistant Project on Sport Coaching as the swimmers will harvest a lot of experience from this trip. One thing I am sure of is that this trip will allow me to understudy the Chinese methodology to add to the knowledge of swimming I now use in developing my coaches and swimmers.

“This China experience will add to me being futuristic where swimming is concerned. I will continue the use of scientific best practices used by the larger swimming federations versus traditional methods as I am fully committed to producing world beaters right here in Jamaica,” the coach of the Kaizen Swim Club shared.

Meanwhile, the artistic swimmers, who are scheduled to depart on Saturday and return on September 1, will train at a venue in Changzhou City which is situated in the highly developed Yangtze Delta region of China and also boasts world-class facilities.

Swim Team: Akeem Alleyne, Zaneta Alvaranga, Brianna Anderson, Saidah Brown, Kito Campbell, Tiara Campbell, Paris Clare, Karci Gibson, Zachary Jackson-Blaine, Zachary Johnson, Paige Lewis, Kaheem Lozer, Dominic Mullings, Devaughn Robe, Kyle Sinclair.

Officials: Georgia Sinclair (Team Manager), Andrea Hanson (Liaison Officer) , Rory Alvaranga (Coach), Ishmedo Wolfe (Coach).

Artistic Swimmers: Ajoni Llewellyn, Alana West, Arianne Smith, Gabrielle Hoo, Imani Salmon, Kelsey Beckford, Laila Bailey, Mishka Gordon, Nyouka Baugh, Regan Griffiths, Shamike Gordon.

Officials: Jacqueline Neil (manager), Patsy Thomas (manager), Nicole Chin-Sue (coach), Tiffany Bailey (coach).

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