The Jamaican Government has answered the cries from athletes in a significant way.
A week after their superb performances at the XV IAAF World Championships in Beijing, some led by Asafa Powell, voiced their displeasure at the way they are being treated as ambassadors of the nation.
Discus thrower, Jason Morgan broke down in tears as he asked for help while others have launched campaigns to raise money to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Michael Frater, 3rd vice president of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA) with responsibility for athletes’ welfare, said the association can’t help the way it would want to.
On Wednesday, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Natalie Neita Headley, said the Government has decided to step in to help.
“Following consultations with the JAAA, an Inter-ministerial committee, established by the Prime Minister, to include the Opposition, and members of the athletes’ fraternity, it has been agreed that we will forego an elaborate celebration to facilitate the provision of additional resources for athlete development and welfare fund."
She continued, “The sum to be saved will allow support to be given to JAAA, through the SDF, to provide a monthly stipend to a pool of approximately 70 athletes currently in the national programme and those going through the developmental process heading into Rio 2016.”
According to the minister, the sum to be injected into the pool is $60 million.
“We anticipate that with support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and CHASE this will become a sustained reality for the future as well.
Our efforts will continue as we seek to create the best environment possible for the health, well-being, security, safety, high level performance and prosperity of our sportsmen and sportswomen who bring so much glory and fame to Jamaica.
“The Government remains fully committed to assisting our athletes in every way we can,” she said.
According to Minister Neita Headley, “the Prime Minister has however agreed to host the athletes at a special reception over the Heroes’ Weekend which will be broadcast live to the rest of the nation.”