MONTEGO BAY, St James – A visit by Jamaica Olympic Association President Christopher Samuda and Olympic diver Yona Knight-Wisdom has left members of Montego Bay’s business community thinking about the business side of sports.
“The members are currently looking at it as viable options for investment,” president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Oral Heaven told the Jamaica Observer. Samuda and Knight-Wisdom were guests at the chamber’s recent monthly meeting.
Heaven pointed to sports tourism as one potential area of opportunity and also spoke about major events such as the recently concluded World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“Sports is big business and, as we are seeing now, we realise we don’t have to wait until persons start performing for us to jump on it, to support them. Corporate Jamaica should throw their support behind every sporting activity,” he stated.
“As a chamber of commerce, it’s a move in the right direction to see how we as the business community can work with the sporting fraternity to ensure that sports benefits and businesses benefit from sporting in Jamaica,” he added.
That is good news for Samuda who said the JOA is engaged in a strategic push to broaden the scope of sports development across the country.
“When we look at the history of sport, a lot of sportsmen and sportswomen who are doing exceptionally well on the international scene have come from out of Kingston. This is not to ignore Kingston at all because Kingston is part of Jamaica but what the Jamaica Olympic Association is saying is, ‘Let us place emphasis on other areas, let us look for talent far and wide’,” he remarked.
Samuda is convinced that the business community has an important role to play in this.
“This initiative in Montego Bay is to sensitise Montegonians to that policy of the Jamaica Olympic Association, which is ‘Sport for all, all for sport’ and to ensure they feel they have a stake and ownership of the legacy and also the achievements of sport,” he stated.
In his presentation to the chamber, Knight-Wisdom spoke about the development of diving in the western end of the island and the talent that abounds. He pointed to locals who execute thrilling dives for fun or as a way to engage with visitors at some tourist attractions.
Samuda says the diver has big plans for the sport of diving.
“Yona has tremendous plans to increase the representation of Jamaica in that sport and to unearth the talent and what better way to do our start by looking at the west,” he remarked.
The chamber president appeared optimistic about the way forward, and said members were particularly pleased with Knight-Wisdom’s presentation.
“The members welcomed the presentation, they looked at it favourably and welcomed the ideas and welcomed the suggestions but it is down to the individuals how they go forward,” said Heaven.