Former Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Wavell Wayne Hinds is now a Paralympic Ambassador with his recent appointment as Chef de Mission for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.
In taking the top job, Hinds bested a list of experienced candidates after a gruelling interviewing process which saw noted sport personalities being selected to assume duties at Paralympic international games.
An exemplary sport administrator whose listed credentials include the presidencies of the West Indies Players' Association and Kensington Cricket Club, Hinds will now be responsible for marshalling Jamaica's team of athletes and officials at the multi-disciplinary pinnacle of Para sports.
“I'm sincerely grateful for the opportunity to serve my people and country in the capacity as Chef de Mission. This great honour and privilege also carries serious responsibilities for an illustrious, innovative and talented group of athletes. I will do my utmost best to protect and promote the legacy of the Jamaica Paralympics Association with humility and grace. I'm eagerly looking forward to meeting and working with my full complement of teammates,” said Hinds.
President of the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA), Christopher Samuda, commenting on the selection process and the appointees, stated that “this is the second time the JPA is selecting by way of interviews its officials for regional and international games for a quadrennial in fulfilling one of its primary objectives of professionalising and making inclusive the management of games which will be delivered by a cadre of experienced and committed professionals led by Wavell, a true son of the soil.”
In 2015, the JPA embarked upon a similar exercise for the quadrennial period 2016 to 2020 which was successful and recently repeated the exercise at the Knutsford Court Hotel with a panel which included director Travis Ebanks, chairman of the Athletes' Commission and a law school graduand.
Hinds will have as his managers Digicel's marketing specialist Kaydean Webley, known for her logistics management of the popular Digicel Grand Prix Track and Field Series, and Ricardo Panton, vice-president of the Jamaica Hockey Association, whose team management skills have been tested and proven locally and regionally.
Hinds, Webley and Panton will “wet their feet” as a team for the IPC World Para Athletics Championships which will be held in Kobe, Japan from August 26 to September 4, 2022.
Robert Darby, a member of the famed Darby dynasty in the horse racing industry and a respected sport personality, will be the Chef de Mission for the 2023 IPC World Para Athletics Championships and will have as his manager, Jean Nelson, who comes to the table with minted managerial experience gained from her experiences with the Reggae Girlz, who created history in qualifying for the 2018 France World Cup.
Noted Netball Manager Leonie Phinn will take command of the 2023 Chile Parapan American Games and will be assisted by Otis Harvey, former national rower and currently a director of the Jamaica Rowing Federation. Both will, however, before that event, team in their respective positions for the Junior World Championships which will be held in 2022.
Project management practitioner and the respected president of the St Thomas Football Association, Wayne Thompson, will tap into his array of skills at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which will see an increased number of Para sports alongside able-bodied events.
The national Para troop at the 2023 Global Games in Vichy, France, will have Softball Jamaica's president and experienced sports administrator, Marvalyn Campbell, as its chief who will oversee engagements in the French republic where, in the city of Lyon in 2013 at the IPC World Athletics Championships, Jamaica's distinguished Paralympian Alphanso Cunningham broke the world record in the F52/53 javelin three times.
Noted educator and sport administrator, Cynthia Cooke, under whose jurisdiction the internationally renowned Racers Track Club falls, will take charge of Jamaica's youth at this year's Parapan American Youth Games which the South American capital of Colombia, Bogota, will host in November.
Michael Vassall, an IAAF (World Athletics) certified coach, and Dr Carol Long, well known in track and field circles, will assume the roles of managers for individual athletes and teams to specific qualifying tournaments and championships for international and regional games and championships which is where it all begins.
The JPA in putting out to tender and formalising the selection of its management teams for games and tournaments is leading the way and according to Samuda is “breaking ground in the administration of sport as it plays its part in establishing, locally, a professional sport industry whereby the business and commercialisation of sport are built on the values and capacity of the human capital”.
Reflecting on the 2012 London Paralympic Games, which was a game changer for the Paralympic movement breaking records for ticket sales and enjoying mass market appeal as it marked the return of the movement to its spiritual birthplace, the British village of Stoke Mandeville, where the first-ever organised sporting event for disabled athletes was held, Samuda said: “As sport evolves, there must be a rebirth of traditional values, a transformation from inside out with inspired chefs de mission at work with stakeholders in the vineyards of boardrooms and on fields of play.”