INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, admitted he is impressed with the broadening scope of Jamaica’s sports beyond just athletics, which he says can only elevate its standing in the Olympic movement.
Bach, who was speaking at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rosehall yesterday, is visiting Jamaica for the weekend along with an eight-member delegation.
They are expected to have discussions with the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and its member associations on how to strengthen Jamaica’s standing within the Olympic movement as well as the relationship between both bodies.
We all know the power of sports in Jamaica. It is mostly about athletics, but what we are seeing is that the scope is widening. While athletics play an essential role, we are seeing many hopeful athletes in other Olympic sports which is very encouraging. We are seeing the young athletes that are preparing for Paris (2024) and even Los Angeles (2028). We are all excited about their commitment to the Olympic values and we wish these athletes all the best, Bach said.
Bach was pleased after getting a chance to see some 13 sports on display. The exhibition started with his very own Fencing where he won gold at the 1980 Montreal Games. He also showed his skills in a little volleyball rally. His face lit with enthusiasm when a group of 10-year-old and under gymnasts produced a dancehall-flavoured routine. The exhibition culminated with fierce competition in 3×3 basketball between Herbert Morrison Technical High School and Jamaica College and then boxing. Also on display were archery, weightlifting, E-sports, chess, floor ball, judo, karate, Sambo and Taekwondo.
This is what makes not only me, but all of the delegation feel really at home as an Olympic community in our paradise on earth, Jamaica. We are feeling at home because we share the same Olympic values.
The Jamaican athletes have overwhelmed us with so many outstanding performances over the years. For 2024, I wish all the Jamaican athletes the very best.
Paris will be special. For those who will make it, I promise it will be an exciting Olympic Games, especially after the pandemic. It’s a great festival of humanity that we want to celebrate with the entire world. We want to celebrate that there is only one human race and the new Olympic motto where we want to get faster, aim higher and become stronger together in the athletes’ community with all 206 international Olympic committees.
This is Bach’s first visit to Jamaica in an official capacity since admitting office in 2013. He departs the island this evening.
Bach was also impressed by the warm welcome he received from the people of the place he described as ‘paradise on earth’.