JOA/JAAA launch Olympic Destiny Series for track and fieldWednesday, May 12, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
THE Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) on Monday announced a multimillion-dollar partnership that will see JOA assist with the staging of a four-part track and field series, as well as the National Championships.
The deal will see the JOA provide financial support to the JAAA in the amount of $14.4 million. The JOA/JAAA Olympic Destiny Series, as it is being called, will be supported to the tune of $7 million while the other $7.5 million will go toward financing the National Championships from which the track and field team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, will be selected.
There will be three Saturday meets on the 22nd of May, the 29th of May and the 5th of June for the senior athletes, and then on 12th of June a meet will be held for the Paralympians to secure qualification for the Paralympic Games.
Significantly, athletes participating in the series will be able to earn as prize money will be offered to the top six finishers in each event. Fourteen events will make up each meet in the series, six of which will be designated as premium events, four as classic events and four as non-prize events. The designation will change from week to week, thereby giving all the participants involved a chance to win prize money.
First-place finishers in the premium events will earn $100,000 while a first place in the classic events will attract $70,000.
JOA President Christopher Samuda hailed the historic partnership that will lead to the series of meets, starting next weekend.
“The JAAA is a treasured member of the association; we always look towards ensuring that our relationships in the industry are built on solid foundations so this is a historic partnership. We are going forward with it and we are going to be creating further partnerships as well.”
Samuda also believes that the series is critical to unearthing new talent as Jamaica seeks to maintain its status in the world of track and field.
“There will never be another Usain Bolt, in terms of his personality, his charisma, but there will be another Usain Bolt in terms of his times – and the Jamaica Olympic Association and JAAA are always looking to ensure that young emerging athletes get the right opportunity in order to achieve that feat.”
President of the JAAA, Garth Gayle said that this initiative will provide important incentives to the athletes who are hoping to represent Jamaica at the Olympics this year.
“This partnership being embarked on, in addition to the novel initiative of introducing a stimulus package to our athletes by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, will not only enhance but also establish and promote an Olympic medal winners' path.
“The programme of providing an athletes' incentive will contribute to our national championships, and our athletes will also stand to benefit in this challenging period of a pandemic as they prepare for the Olympic Destiny Series.”
CEO and secretary general of the JOA Ryan Foster said the partnership that was announced was an investment in track and field.
“Today marks a significant investment of the JOA in not only getting back track and field onboard in terms of the qualification series for the Olympic Games, but also the investment in the national men's and women's senior and junior teams.”
Foster also said that it was time to start living with the pandemic as we seek to get back to normal activities and give the athletes a chance to earn once again.
“The pandemic has affected everybody, whether it be sport, whether it be corporate businesses, the general man and woman on the road, and we believe that we have to move forward from this pandemic, we have to learn how to live with the pandemic. I think qualification series such as these will enable the track and field athletes to get their careers and their lives back on track.
“Their livelihoods have been affected significantly and we think that now is the time to get them back, through the Olympic Destiny Series, to ensure that our track and field athletes can restart their lives and their careers.
“We are very passionate about this because track and field has a rich legacy in the Olympic Games and we are all big on providing avenues for our track and field athletes, and we think that this series will not only showcase JOA's commitment to track and field, but also to sport and sport development in this country.”
The launch took place at the JOA's office at Cunningham Avenue on Monday.
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