Excerpt from Observer column - Mon 18 Jan 2016
By Jean Lowrie-Chin
The RJR Foundation Sports Awards, organised by the meticulous Yvonne Wilks-O'Grady and her team, left us filled with pride. There they were, the fastest man and woman in the world, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price, being crowned as Jamaica's Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year. There was cancer survivor, Novlene Williams-Mills, who roared past the American leader in 4x400 World Games event in Beijing to take the Gold Medal for Jamaica, showing us the courage and perseverance that can come from our darkest moments.
Guest speaker UWI Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, lauded Jamaica for our "most incredible contribution to sport". In recalling the resolve of the Swiss to preserve their reputation as the world's top watch-makers, he advised that sports in Jamaica "must be institutionalized and industrialized" to maintain this excellence. He said that what has happened to West Indies cricket must never happen to Jamaica and that we had a responsibility to come together to safeguard our dominance.
As he spoke, I recalled how a Chinese spectator pleaded with me for my Jamaican flag at the Beijing Olympics. Are we gearing for Rio? Is there a project to embrace our craft workers so that our vibrant Jamaican colours will shine in Brazil? How far ahead are our sports tourism plans? Let us heed Sir Hilary, thus ensuring that all Jamaicans can benefit from our phenomenal sporting successes.