Buzzing Babsy delighted with Jamaica's track and field outlookWednesday, August 18, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
The Minister of Sports Olivia “Babsy” Grange was buzzing with delight and excitement when she spoke to journalists about the future of Jamaica's track and field, recently.
Speaking at the sending off of Jamaica's World Athletics Under-20 Championships team, Grange said that after witnessing the number of young athletes who represented the country at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games and looking at the large contingent set to represent Jamaica in Nairobi, the future for the sport on the island could not be brighter or in more capable hands and feet.
“What was particularly great about the team that was at the Olympics is that there were so many young athletes.
“Athletes who may not have imagined they would have made an Olympics team at their age and at this stage of their careers, but they made it to the Olympics. And not only did they make it to the Olympics, they have come back as Olympians.
“We have a great future ahead of us, because there are all these young athletes starting at such a young age that they have their entire future ahead of them, and so Jamaica can look forward to great performances going forward.
“Young, vibrant, energetic, talented athletes who are committed to doing their best and are passionate about their disciplines, so I am particularly proud at this time as minister, that I can speak so confidently about the future of Jamaica's track and field.”
Grange said that based on the size of the Under-20 squad this year and the cadre of athletes that make up the cohort, she is expecting the team to exceed the performances of the team in Tampere, Finland, in 2018.
“This delegation, the largest youth delegation to go off to the World Under-20 Championships, I see so much talent…the representation is fantastic. We have athletes who rank number two, number three, ranked very highly in the world for that age range and so the last competition in Finland we came back with 12 medals, I'm expecting an even greater haul of medals on their return.”
The minister also revealed that based on an agreement between her Government and Government of Kenya, there will be a sharing of resources to benefit both track and field programmes in the near future.
“They are going to Kenya. The President of Kenya Mr Uhuru Kenyatta visited Jamaica for our Independence celebrations two years ago and out of that we have had discussions [about] where we are going to partner – we are going to do exchanges.
“Athletes from Kenya will be coming to Jamaica to train and they have offered to train our middle- and long-distance runners and so there is that bond not only because of our African heritage, but there is that bond that has grown over the years to cement this wonderful relationship.
“So, it's great that they are going to the continent, they are going to Kenya, they are going there to perform, they are going there to really wave Jamaica's flag high and to show that they are true ambassadors.”
Grange has also promised to treat the Under-20 athletes in a manner similar to their senior counterparts on their return to Jamaica.
“I am looking forward to welcoming them on their return to Jamaica and to shower them with love and affection and appreciation, like I would have done for the Olympians.”
The championships get under way today after the start was pushed back by one day, but will conclude on Sunday, as scheduled, nonetheless.