Anderson encouraged by growth of local Olympians AssociationWednesday, July 21, 2021
AS the Tokyo Olympic Games nears, the Olympians Association of Jamaica (OAJ), under new President Marvin Anderson, is celebrating a significant growth of the base of the organisation.
A review of the first 18 months of the activities of the new board indicates that the OAJ is an organisation on the move.
Through the use of social media, the OAJ, which comprises past and present Olympians and aims to represent and promote their interests, has been able to increase its presence exponentially.
“We have seen an increase of over 300 per cent in our membership. Secretary Cathy Rattray Samuel was recently selected to present on behalf of OAJ at the Americas Region of NOAs and share with the region on membership engagement due to the progress we made during the first year and a half in office,” said a beaming Anderson.
“The OAJ is now officially recognised by the JOA (Jamaica Olympic Association) and for the first time, which led to the granting of our certificate of membership by the World Olympians Association (WOA).
“The World Olympians Association was so impressed with the progress we made they asked that Jamaica send a representative to present on their flagship webinar programme (The Power of Olympian Legacy).”
Director Chris Stoke was selected to share his experience, which was well received by the global Olympian community, Anderson said.
Anderson, a former Jamaica sprinter, said he is particularly proud of the Jamaican Olympian Interactive link-up, which was hosted by Director Sherone Simpson, as well as a number of other key developments that have taken place despite the pandemic.
“The launch of the OAJ Olympian Interactive link-up (first sport organisation in Jamaica to do this during the pandemic); the signing of an MOU agreement with Jamaica Bickel to support of Olympians; we extended our educational outreach programme promoting the Olympic Ideals with students of GC Foster College and high school students; and the OAJ sponsorship of media training for three Olympians per cohort since 2020 to speech and voice training with CPTC/ MTI are initiatives of which we are particularly proud as we continue to grow the organisation to assist both active and retired Olympians alike,” he said.
Anderson was also happy to announce that two Olympians were recently awarded scholarships through the International Olympic Committee to complete master's degree in sports ethics.
There are challenges that the organisation is facing, particularly because of the pandemic.
“We have not been able to actively engage our members due to the pandemic, neither have we been able to do community services programmes. They were totally impossible due to all the restrictions. The education outreach to promote Olympic ideals ahead of the Tokyo Games, were activated in a limited role,” he lamented.
The OAJ president bemoaned the lack of financial support for the OAJ. However, despite the challenges faced, the outlook for a return to normalcy seems to be improving.
Anderson said he wants to create opportunities for Jamaican Olympians to contribute in areas of sports administration, mentorship programmes and corporate speaking engagements to motivate and share their success stories.
He said he's focused on forging partnerships in a meaningful way with the private and public sector to support Jamaican Olympians going forward.
— Dwayne Richards
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