KINGSTON, Jamaica – Having learnt that his grandfather was one of the first Jamaicans who migrated to the United Kingdom as part of the Windrush Generation, Luke Samuels has had a lifelong dream to represent the Caribbean island on the international sporting scene.
Samuels told OBSERVER ONLINE that his grandfather, who was born in the small rural community of Watt Town, St Ann, migrated to the UK in 1948. He said that his biggest motivation in sports is to make him proud.
“I do this for him. My granddad died when I was 19 and I know he would be proud to see me do this and represent Jamaica,” he said.
Samuels, 38, said from a tender age he has always felt connected to his Jamaican roots, and said he enjoys watching the island showcase its prowess on the track, "especially like Usain Bolt and all these athletes."
This has made him more determined to achieve his goal of representing the nation at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan, Italy.
“I see myself as Jamaican even though I was born here (Scotland). I feel it and that’s why my determination is so strong. And now, I’m happy. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to represent my country,” he said.
Samuels plays curling part-time and is a residential care officer who looks after children. He hasn't been playing the sport for very long.
“So, one night I was sitting with my wife watching curling, never played curling in my life and I turned to her and I said I’m gonna curl for Jamaica one day and she laughed at me. I like watching the game and I didn’t even know what it felt like to play on the ice and use the stones and the broom or wear the shoes but I said to her, I’m gonna curl for Jamaica.”
Determined to achieve his mission, Samuels started curling training at the Curl Edinburgh facility in Scotland. After that he contacted the Jamaican curling team and became a part of it. The team has only played friendlies so far but the aim is to make the Winter Olympics in 2026
Curling originated in Scotland in 1541. It is a team sport played by two teams of four players on a rectangular sheet of ice. Jamaica became a member of the World Curling Federation last year and is now eligible to take part in games and international competitions such as the Winter Olympics.
Samuels said he “wants to do more” to help and provide opportunities through curling.
“I want to help the people of Jamaica. I feel like it’s something I should be doing. I don’t know why, but it’s something inside me that’s telling me that I need to. I’ve had the opportunity to do curling for Jamaica and I want others to have that opportunity to do what they want to do, even if it’s not curling and just to believe in themselves to show that’s anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” he said, adding that he does charity work in local shelters including the Mustard Seed Communities.
“I haven’t met the team, but I attend the meetings online. So, we discuss loads of things and we want to build a curling arena in Jamaica and we want to get the youth of Jamaica to learn how to curl and give them opportunities. We want to give them a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning and something to strive for, something to look forward to and something to put their minds to as well. I feel that sports, especially in Jamaica, it is really important that we have this for the kids. If we can bring our skills and facilities to Jamaica, there’s nothing stopping us,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE.
He said he hopes that Jamaicans will embrace the sport.
“I think Jamaicans will buy into curling because if you look at the Jamaican bobsleigh team, that’s another sport on ice and when we compare things, we say look at the bobsleigh team; look at what they have done. I think of ice sports or curling with Jamaica, but I think it shows that Jamaica is very versatile and anything we put our mind to, we can do it,” he said.
Anyone or any organisation that is interested in sponsoring the Jamaican curling team can make contact via its social media platforms @officialcurlingjamaica.