The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (GOC) created history recently when both sport apex bodies executed a sports co-operation agreement in Greece where national governing sport committees of countries worldwide congregated for the XXV General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committee (ANOC).
In describing this historic feat, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, said, “The signing of the agreement signifies the abiding commitment of JOA and GOC to deepen our already strong bi-lateral relationship under which athletes, coaches, administrators, and member federations will be the beneficiaries of initiatives of capacity-building and institutional strengthening, in research, training and education, sport-specific skills, and the sciences and technology of sport.”
President of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, Gerardo Aguirre, also embraced the historic moment in regional sporting history by stating, “For us, Guatemala’s NOC, we identified this as an opportunity to generate a connection with sport and athletes between Jamaica and Guatemala. Jamaica has specific strengths in sport, and Guatemala has developed others, making these useful for us all to share. Therefore, this makes the signing of this agreement a marvellous opportunity and from it can come various avenues of activities so that Jamaican and Guatemalan athletes can come together.”
Under the agreement the national sporting bodies will pursue initiatives of cooperation in the areas of applied sport sciences, sport medicine, technology, Olympic values, anti-doping, community and recreational sport, as well as sport administration. It will facilitate the exchange of athletes and coaches who will benefit from educational and technical programmes.
Secretary general and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association Ryan Foster, in making the announcement stated that, “Both Olympic bodies understand that efforts and relationships in sport must first be athlete-centric and dedicated, and then for stakeholders’ engagement and empowerment, and this agreement which we have signed is written testimony of that fact and the reality that friendships and unity in sport defy language barriers and the breadth of seas and oceans.”
Director of International Affairs of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee Neville Steins emphasised “the importance and high value of this agreement in the context of bringing not only our countries together through sport, but more still, bringing together the Caribbean and Central America in eliminating the absence of communication, owing to language differences, through the use of sport and thus bring our countries’ athletes together for the common good”.
The JOA’s foreign policy supports strong and strategic partnerships in providing enabling opportunities for athletes, coaches, and administrators.
“The JOA will continue to build strong partnerships across borders and continents. We started in December 2017 when we inked in Japan with the Tottori Prefecture Government an agreement which is facilitating collaboration beyond the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as for us sport development and diplomacy go beyond events and are life-changing experiences spanning generations. We will continue in earnest as sport is an enabler, equaliser, and unifier,” President Samuda remarked.