Minister Grange promises to help rebuild Jamaica's weightlifting
Minister of Sport Olivia Grange (left) presents a copy of Usain Bolt - Legend to Jose Quinones, the president of the Pan American Weightlifting Federation, after he made a courtesy call to her office on Friday. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

Following discussions coming out of a courtesy call made by the president of the Pan American Weightlifting Federation, Jose Quinones, on her office last Friday, Minister of Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange was left excited about the re-emergence of the sport in Jamaica.

Newly elected Pan-Am President Quinones made a two-day visit to Jamaica with the intention of getting his organisation to help laying a blueprint for the revival of the sport in the country.

"I thought the courtesy call that was made by the president bore fruitful results because we were able to have a very productive discussion.

"I am looking forward to working closely with the local federation along with the Pan American Federation to rebuild weightlifting in Jamaica," she said.

Noting that the costs associated with getting the sport up and running are not prohibitive, the minister believes that things can happen quickly with the roll-out of weightlifting competition at both the school and community levels.

"It's a real low-hanging fruit. We can work even at the basic school level, the primary school level and at the community level to rebuild the sport of weightlifting.

"It's a basic sport that can help in so many other sporting disciplines because you are speaking about training in strength, you're talking about discipline and focus, physical fitness and we have even discussed with the president, utilising their educational platform," she said.

"It's a win-win situation and I am looking forward to working with the local body and with the Pan-American Federation to rebuild weightlifting and to use it also to help to strengthen and enhance other sporting disciplines.

"I am looking forward to 2025 when we are looking at an international event in weightlifting right here in Jamaica, but even before that I am looking forward to them sending coaches who will coach, coaches and who will help us to recruit persons to be involved in weightlifting," she added

There are also plans to have events being held outdoors all across the island to take the sport to the people.

"I am also looking forward to the street format that we spoke about. There is always a space in communities and in urban areas and rural areas where you can set up the platform and have a pop-up event," the minister concluded.

Coaches from Canada are expected on the island as early as next month to begin training prospective weightlifting coaches.

— Dwayne Richards

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