Jamaica Paralympic Association's Szandra Szogedi creates history in appointment


Jamaica Paralympic Association's Szandra Szogedi creates history in appointment

Saturday, November 07, 2020

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General secretary of the Jamaica Judo Association Szandra Szogedi has been appointed by the International Blind Sports Federation to the Judo Classification Projects Research Committee which is tasked with the responsibility of redesigning the current classification rules, specifically for the Paralympic sport of judo, using evidence and research-based findings of stakeholders.

The significance of the appointment of Jamaica's nominee lies in the fact that for the first time in the history of the Paralympic movement Jamaica will have a voice at the table in shaping and implementing rules of a sport that will govern competition in local, regional and global games and championships.

Commenting on her appointment, Szogedi said: “I humbly accept the appointment and wish to extend my deepest respect and appreciation to the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA), my federation and colleagues for their strong support. I look forward to working with some remarkable people all in the name of my love and passion for sports.”

Para sports continue to grow in Jamaica and Szogedi acknowledges the importance of her appointment. “We are at a critical junction in Jamaica's sporting history and this appointment will certainly facilitate further growth and development for Jamaica's blind sports and sports in general. I am deeply honoured to be selected and will fly the Jamaican flag high with pride.”

The agenda of the committee is far from being passive, as members will engage in a robust evaluation of the existing rules in guaranteeing a sport-specific and evidence-based classification system in judo.

Reacting to this groundbreaking appointment, President Christopher Samuda said: “The JPA prides itself in positioning talent in becoming policymakers and benefactors rather than simply being beneficiaries of a system. We encourage creators and innovators rather than partakers. We inspire thought leadership in the boardroom, in the technical coaching labs and on the field of play. Szogedi embodies our vision and mission.”

It was also a historic moment for the JPA at the 2019 Lima Parapan American Games when Theador Subba, inspired by Szogedi and coached by Stephen Moore, created history in achieving Jamaica's first judo medal — the bronze — in the men's over 100kg class. Subba's achievement was remarkable as he only took up the sport just over a year before.

Since then, he continues to be driven, under the watchful eye of Szogedi, to attain that coveted gold medal at the Paralympic Games while, occasionally but purposely, crossing the floor to the javelin circle where he is also gifted and striving for excellence.

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