Sun | Jun 16, 2024

JTA committed to the development of junior athletes

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2024 | 12:12 AMGregory Bryce/Staff Reporter
President of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) Leighton Johnson (left) and Chief Revenue Officer of Insurance, Sagicor Life Jamaica and Director at Sagicor Foundation Mark Chisholm caught deep in conversation at the JTA/Sagicor National Primary School
President of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) Leighton Johnson (left) and Chief Revenue Officer of Insurance, Sagicor Life Jamaica and Director at Sagicor Foundation Mark Chisholm caught deep in conversation at the JTA/Sagicor National Primary School Athletics Championships media launch held at the JTA’s head office in Kingston yesterday.

Chairman of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) National Sports Committee, Kemar Bailey, says they are committed to building the foundation of Jamaica’s track and field. Bailey was speaking at the media launch of the JTA/Sagicor National Primary School Athletic Championships yesterday.

With the two-day national championships set to held June 7 and 8, Bailey said the track meet provides an opportunity for students from all regions of Jamaica to showcase their talent at the National Stadium. He added that at this age group, the chance to compete at the National Stadium is a dream many young athletes aspire to.

“This meet is where you can have one student athlete from a particular school from all the way up somewhere in Wait-A-Bit, Trelawny, and he or she will get an opportunity to come and put their talent on display at the National Stadium,” he said.

According to Bailey, the JTA has set protocols to ensure all interested athletes have the opportunity to qualify for the championships.

He explained within each parish, there are competitions open to all students to compete for the chance of representing their parish at the national championships. These competitions will be done under the watchful gaze of an appointed parish coordinator.

These coordinators are tasked with identifying the best athletes from the various parishes.

“We have 14 persons representing each parish and those persons are called parish coordinators, and in the parishes, we have what is called a district. We’ve ensured that all schools are within a district and we can actually locate the best students wherever they are from the length and breadth of the island.”

He added, “That is the beauty of this championship, we go out to find the athletes and meet them wherever they are.”

Bailey said the annual championship has become a major development meet for several of Jamaica’s best track and field athletes, and hopes to continue this tradition with the stars of the future.

He said the purpose of this meet is to ensure junior athletes are given the right platform to showcase their talent at an early age.

“It is actually a really good feeling when five or six years down the road, you see these athletes in high school breaking records, or even years later seeing these athletes at the World Championship or Olympics getting the gold medal. You can say I remember when I saw them at the JTA/Sagicor Championship and I saw that person running as a child.

“It is actually good when you’re there from the outset and we’re here to support these athletes from the start and not only when they are successful,” Bailey said.