The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will be granting three-year scholarships totalling $6 million to local coaches starting November 1, which will allow successful candidates to finance educational pursuits as well as living expenses, which the governing entity believes is a challenge the coaches encounter.
According to the release by the JOA, the scholarships will be awarded every three years and will involve a component of overseas assignments, which is one of the association’s strategic objectives. It stated that it is a landmark effort by the association.
“A grateful response to the commitment and admirable work of men and women who are architects in building Jamaica’s sporting capital and reputation and professional and amateur lives in sport. It is also JOA’s constructive response to the daily challenges some coaches face,” JOA’s Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Foster, said.
He stated that the JOA has been investing in and empowering coaches when it facilitated over 70 coaches from many sports across the spectrum in pursuing the Pan American Sport Organisation-sponsored (PASO) High Performance Coach Certificate course.
That initiative was lauded by several national and elite coaches, including track and field conditioners Reynaldo Walcott and O’Keile Stewart as well as national judo coach and Olympian, Szandra Szogedi.
“The PASO course allowed me to be aware of the wealth of coaching educational opportunities that are available through the JOA, IOC and PanAm Sports. I was able to feel comfortable and confident when coaching internationally as I was with my peers who also were enrolled in the same course,” Walcott said.
Stewart added: “Very informative and impactful of my development in the sport. The information received was quite practical and was easily understood as the presenters were quite skilled in their delivery. Most of the ethical principles taught were a reinforcement of what I was taught with additional information of which I wasn’t aware. The ethical aspects learnt have helped me to form the foundation on which I now operate and build my programme.”
“The PASO course was extremely useful and despite being in sport for over two decades at a high level, I still gained significant knowledge. I am very grateful for the opportunity JOA gave me to be able to complete this course,” Szogedi said.
JOA president, Christopher Samuda, believes the training is important to the different aspects of development of coaches.
“The life of a coach is an ongoing education in technical competencies and socio-psychology in relating to their charges as well as an experience in meeting expenses. Our objective at the JOA is to find practical solutions that will allow them to acquire functional knowledge and be self-sustaining so as to enable them to excel at what they do best. We have to reprogramme the programme for programmed success,” Samuda said.