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VIDEO: Gymnast Francis grateful to INSPORTS for financial aid

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

JAMAICAN artistic gymnast Danusia Francis has heaped praise on the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) for providing her with funding as she fine-tunes preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month.

The 27-year-old Francis, who is the only Jamaican gymnast thus far to qualify for this year's Olympics, is a beneficiary of the Athletes Assistance and Welfare Fund orchestrated by Minister of Sports Olivia Grange.

“I have received funding from the Institute of Sports and I am so, so grateful for this,” said Francis, who is based in London.

“With gymnastics being a fairly new sport in Jamaica I never expected to receive much support financially, and so I do work alongside my training,” she revealed.

She continued: “But receiving this funding from the Institute of Sports allowed me to work less hours and focus more on my training — and I think this will be a great factor in delivering the result I want when we get to Tokyo.”

Francis is just one of a number of athletes across various sporting disciplines who have received funding designed to provide financial assistance to national sportsmen and women preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Government, through the Institute of Sports, is providing support to approximately 124 athletes to the tune of $45 million. The programme was implemented for the first time in March 2020.

Francis, who is expected to be joined by Jamaica's first gymnast to the Olympic Games in 2016 — Toni-Ann Williams — said training has been going well.

“My preparations for the Olympics are going well; I feel like it is right on track. [I'm] just building fitness and trying to put those finishing touches on my routines,” Francis noted.

“I am competing in a few weeks and I am really excited to get back out there on the competition floor in that mindset, dust off the cobwebs. And, I think this will give me a nice confidence boost before going to Tokyo.

“This is my second Olympic Games. In 2012 I was a reserve so I didn't actually get to compete, so this time — out there on the competition floor — Jamaican fans can expect to see the same charisma that Jamaican athletes are known for. I will be out there with a great, big smile; I will be wearing the Jamaican flag; and I will do my best to make everybody proud,” said Francis.