CEMENTING its legacy and platform for future sportsmen and sportswomen, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), under the theme ‘Next Generation’, broke ground on Thursday to build out its Olympic Manor at Cunningham Avenue in Kingston.
Chief architects at the island’s ruling body for sport, headlined by its president, Christopher Samuda, led the exercise signalling expansion with pickaxe and shovel, on premises next door its current headquarters.
“The Jamaica Olympic Association this morning, today, delves into the earth of Cunningham Avenue to create history, to create a future for the now and next generations of our youth,” said Samuda.
“The governing and apex body for Olympic and non-Olympic sports put deep in reaching the subterranean to establish a foundation for the recreation and competition of sport, for the business of sport, for the rights and freedom of sport, for comity and unity in sport, for the humanity of sport and for the spirit and soul of sport,” he said.
As is customary with construction sites, there were prayers to bless the land and everything that goes into its development, which were led by the Reverend Khan Honeyghan, after JOA director Yvonne Kong had initiated proceedings with blessings to ‘The Father’.
HOME FOR SPORT
“The recreation of Olympic manor at Cunningham Avenue shall be a home for sport. It shall house offices where conversations on sport will take place,” Samuda continued. “It will house conference rooms where debates in sport will take place, it will house a boardroom and an executive office where policymaking and decision-making will govern the development of sport.”
He added: “It will house a gym and wellness suite that will condition the mind and body of sport. It will house an apparel retail outfit that will commercialise and monetise the properties of sport. It will house a Chancery where the dignity, excellence and character of sport will be celebrated and awarded. And yes, it will house a chapel where the spirit and soul of sport will be reverenced and receive sustenance and be watered.”
Ryan Foster, the JOA’s secretary general/CEO, said the completed facility will be a “legacy to the next generation” and also serve to complement its business goals.
“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony is a landmark in the path to the creation of the legacy of the next generation in the history of the Jamaica Olympic Association. It is historic as it signals the fact that sport is a big business, our business,” he remarked.
“The building of the Olympic Manor will not only be about providing capacity, but it is about expanding the business model of the JOA to meet the growing demand of an industry that has not been capitalised on for far too long,” Foster noted.
“The Manor will not only expand the assets of the JOA, but upon completion, will begin to reap real dividends for the benefit of the expansive plans that we have for the next quadrennial.”
Continuing, Foster said: “The project is expected to be completed within nine to 12 months, barring any unforeseen issues from the pandemic.”
As it’s sport, a number of budding athletes from boxing and gymnastics, who just returned from last weekend’s Central American Championships in El Salvador, were in attendance. And junior gymnast, Khalilia Barton, expressed being “overwhelmed with pride”.
Barton said: “This structure is a milestone in the Jamaica Olympic Association’s plan and it is also a milestone for the development of sports in Jamaica. This building is not just a physical structure, but to us also represents the broader infrastructure in the system of sports development.
“As a young gymnast, I am overwhelmed with pride to be part of this and will benefit from it as we both continue to develop to be the best we can as athletes and as a major support system for sports in Jamaica,” she continued.
“Thank you, Jamaica Olympic Association, for having this vision that will now become a reality to benefit us all.”