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Sports

JOA looks to enhance 'CommonGames' appeal, wants more athlete participation

Thursday, April 25, 2019

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Enhancing the Commonwealth Games' appeal lists highly on the agenda of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

This has not always been the case with most of the country's top track and field athletes, especially, who shun participation at the quadrennial sporting championship that caters to the British Commonwealth.

The target was listed as key among leading players in the island's parent body for sport, coming out of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) regional conference, which brought together presidents, secretary generals and other lead officials from National Olympic Committees across the Americas and Caribbean. It was held at Iberostar hotel in Montego Bay.

It was the first time in recent years that an august gathering of such had been pulled together in Jamaica by the CGF.

“From the Commonwealth Games Federation, which is under the aegis of the JOA, we want to ensure that our athletes see that product, the Commonwealth Games, as a Games that they want to go,” said JOA President, Christopher Samuda.

“Too often we have looked at the Commonwealth Games as a second cousin to the Olympic Games. It has its own identity, it has its own brand and this is something that we must reinforce to our athletes,” added Samuda.

With some degree of success, the game-changing Samuda-led JOA, which had been newly installed at the time, influenced a number of Jamaica's top sporting stars, and by more sporting disciplines, to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games staging at the Gold Coast. The result translated into a record medal haul, which was highlighted by Ryan Foster, the JOA's secretary general, as he commented on the conference.

“The Commonwealth Games was the most successful for Jamaica last year,” noted Foster. “I think our administrative team has done an excellent job in collaboration with the CGF in ensuring that this conference was successful, seamless, but also historic in a sense.

“Important topics, important deliverables have been discussed and the way forward for the CGF is not just to see the Commonwealth Games as a Games, but also how we incorporate the core values of the Commonwealth Games throughout our athletes, our administrators and of course, the representative CGA's,” said Foster.

Brand improvement and viability were among the major topics discussed at the three-day summit, which also saw a review of the 2018 Gold Coast Games by the CGF member affiliates from the Caribbean and Americas.

“We're hoping to change our brand because it's 20 years since we last did our brand and it needs refreshing. The conversations we've had about our brand have certainly given us food for thought,” said CGF president, Dame Louise Martin.

Martin noted that the recommendations tabled will be viewed with others from similar forums, which will be held across all six CGF regions, to strengthen their decision-making that will ultimately improve the Games.

“The broader impact can only be achieved if we are together with our shared vision of building peaceful sustainable and prosperous communities with regionally relevant programmes, that is the most important part, regionally relevant programmes, to suit you in the Caribbean, to suit you in the Americas, to make sure your community of athletes can thrive and we can move forward with a momentum never seen before,” reinforced Martin.

Samuda supports her view.

He said: “The flagship of the CGF is the Commonwealth Games. Each Games has to renew and refresh itself to ensure it is in sync with the changing times. The Games remain relevant with the Commonwealth territories and what we did at the Conference was to miscroscope the Games to see how better we could trademark it, how we can market it, how best we could look at the competition and ensure that we're being representative of the nations.”


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