Track and field athletics will be looking to add much power and strength to the Jamaica Olympic Association’s (JOA) ‘Lima Invasion’, when the country participates in the 2019 Pan-Am Games in Lima, Peru.
The island’s parent body for sports put forward its intention to deliver hallmark performances at the sporting showcase of the Americas at Tuesday’s official launch of ‘Lima Invasion’ at Up Park Camp in Kingston.
“In the Invasion we will not only rely on our physical sense and emotional sensibility but on the spirit that compels any equipped soldier, any well-conditioned athlete, to face the odds and stare defeat uncompromisingly. That spirit, which makes the ordinary extraordinary, which makes value invaluable and which makes the present historic … is the essence of the Invasion of which we speak,” said Christopher Samuda, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).
“So when members of the national sports guard roll into Lima, they will take with them an armoury of the hopes and aspirations of a country on their shoulders and ground-breaking records beneath their fertile feet and over their arching arms,” added Samuda, an Attorney-At-Law.
Dr Warren Blake, President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said they will be loading the sport’s heavyweights to champion that bid at the July 26-August 11 Games.
“We’re looking to send a strong team to Lima so that we can perform to the usual high standards,” said Dr Blake of the track and field athletes, who have made Jamaica traditional a powerhouse in world sprinting.
“Now we also have athletes in not just the running events, we’ve some strong athletes in the field events as well, so we’re set to do even better than we’ve done in the past,” Dr Blake added.
Jamaica has won medals at every Pan Am Games since it began competing in 1951, racking up a record 14 in 1959. Ryan Foster, the JOA’s CEO, said they are looking to exceed those numbers.
“When we arrive in Lima it is our goal to surpass the records set in previous years. We hope to have the largest contingent participating in the Games, we intend to exceed the record of having 10 sports represented at the Games and we are desirous of coming away with more than 14 medals we earned in 1959,” Foster said. “We intend to obliterate every record, to take Lima by storm.”
Along with ‘Invasion Lima’, the JOA had also announced a new partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), from which national sporting associations – through athletes in particular – are likely to benefit from training facilities and expert coaching.
Dr Blake praised the initiative, saying: “The synergies between the JDF and JOA will really help a lot of the smaller sports in terms of giving athletes an avenue. You could also explore the possibilities that some athletes could become full-time members of the JDF and be able to train on a full-time basis without really worrying where the income is coming from.”
He further assessed: “For a lot of our sportsmen training is a part-time activity, when really to be good at so-called amateur sports you’ve to be a professional athlete, you’ve to train full-time as if it’s a job.”