Samuda champions 'humanity' at Colombia embassy's CAC reception

Monday, July 09, 2018

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Championing the value of sport and a spirit of 'humanity', president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, is urging countries and athletes to generate strong relationships from their participation at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

The 23rd edition of the Games will be held in Barranquilla, Colombia from July 19 to August 23 and Samuda, addressing athletes from both nations at a reception hosted by Colombian Ambassador Roberto Garcia Marquez, at his residence in Jack's Hill, Kingston, made the rallying call for unification and all-round development.

“At the Jamaica Olympic Association we support excellence — excellence in performance, excellence in conduct, excellence in relationships; and we make absolutely no apologies for that because that is not only the foundation, but the springboard of countries coming together,” Samuda added.

A host of Colombia's junior athletes and coaches — part of an ongoing exchange — have been training here as part of their development, and the JOA president, noting in particular Ambassador Marquez, referenced their spirit.

“We are pleased, ambassador that we were able to meet and greet your delegation from Colombia. I was with them this morning and the energy, the enthusiasm, and just simply the friendship that they exhibited and how they warmed to our coaches … they are far more enthusiastic than they are for this experience because they have now learnt that they can reach across the divide and also share their experience with those who, perhaps history will say, we are not our brothers,” he explained on Tuesday night.

“But sport is brotherhood, sport is humanity. sport is also reaching out to those who may not feel that they have the potential, but who have that raw material within them that you call humanity. So, ladies and gentlemen, as we go towards the CAC Games, where Jamaica has a very rich history and where we will continue that history, apart from the performances … what we must come from those Games with is a profound sense of humanity that sport unites, sport excites, and sport ignites,” affirmed Samuda.

“This is the essence that we must take away from the Games. We must renew friendships, we must create friendships, and we must signal to the world community that the Central American and Caribbean community is leading the way globally in sports,” he added.

Colombia, which has already hosted the CAC Games on three occasions, will for the second time stage the Games in the city of Barranquilla.

In welcoming the Jamaican delegation to the cocktail send-off, Marquez referenced sporting exchanges between the nations and said “tonight is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the strong Jamaican-Colombian relationship”.

He added: “As we think of sports, we recall [that] the very first Colombian Sports Diplomacy initiative visit to a foreign country took place in Jamaica back in 2011.

“After eight years visiting this powerhouse of track and field, 130 young athletes and 29 coaches have benefited from these exchanges. Today, the total programme statistics indicate that 1,645 youngsters and coaches have participated in 129 exchanges in 48 countries,” Marquez shared.

“I wish great success to the Jamaican delegation at the 2018 CAC Games. I feel privileged, as I know that many of you will go there to achieve great marks, win medals, and make Jamaica proud. As friends of Jamaica we will, of course, enjoy your success and will recall this evening when we had the great pleasure of meeting and hosting you at this residence,” he said.

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