Jamaica - The birth of a Paralympic Academy

President of the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA), Christopher Samuda, announced that a team of national and international educators and business interests will be assembled later this year to begin the work on establishing a Paralympic Academy in the country.

At a "Jamaica Paralympic Order" ceremony at the regional headquarters of the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), Samuda spoke to an audience that included the Principal of the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), Professor Densil Williams, dignitaries from the diplomatic and consular corps the Executive Director of the Caribbean Special Olympics, Lorna Bell. 

"We, the JPA, envision, and Jamaica must envision with us, the birth of a Paralympic Academy that will provide formal education, vocational skills and coaching and officiating competencies in various sports disciplines to create pathways and self-realisation opportunities for our able-bodied persons with a difference," Samuda stated. 

The JPA is committed to empowering its athletes, coaches and officials and the Caribbean Training and Education Forum now underway in Kingston, under the auspices of the global governing body, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the JPA, is part of the grand design to harness talent off the field. 

Emphasising this, President Samuda reminded stakeholders that "sport has a shelf life and too often sportsmen and women are driven to perform during that life without emphasising its brevity and the longevity and importance of the afterlife of their careers."

Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Paralympic Association. JPA
Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Paralympic Association. JPA

The academy would be a critical investment in sports education, the foundation for capacity building, and "the work to make this a historic reality will create a window to the world where our able youth, sportsmen and women can earn the right to become world class citizens in their chosen fields," President Samuda said. 

The desire to succeed comes first and foremost from within and is nurtured by the will to overcome challenges, for which President Samuda commended Paralympians who, despite limited resources and difficulties over the years, have excelled beyond the limits. 

"For money and the material things of life and living, though they sustain our physical life, cannot nourish that human being, that human spirit that triumphs over adversity in reaching for the stars, that spirit in which conscience and consciousness reside and which we celebrate today," he said. 

The birth of a Paralympic Academy will itself represent a significant value in sport conceived in the successes of Jamaica's Paralympians. "The JPA applauds our Paralympians for exemplifying the ideals of sport. Very few can claim the success that you have achieved on the world stage. Very few can claim to be an integral part of Jamaica's sporting culture and heritage," Samuda concluded.