Sports

Grange expects Reggae Girlz to deliver big in France

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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Minister of Sport Olivia Grange is anticipating a great performance from the Reggae Girlz at the Fifa Women's World Cup in France next summer.

The Girlz, who have been on a four-day tour of the island, were given the keys to the city of Kingston on Monday at a ceremony held at Flag Circle at Breezy Castle.

The tour began in Montego Bay where the ladies also received the keys to that city and Grange has hailed the love and support shown by the people of Jamaica along the way.

“We have experienced some wonderful things over the past few days. In Montego Bay they were embraced, it was beautiful and then from GC Foster, through Spanish Town into Kingston, it was unbelievable,” she said.

She was also happy that the players were able to have a mixture of experiences as they blazed a quick trail across the island.

“What is good is that people from all walks of life got to see them. They were able to experience Jamaica, local and overseas players were able to understand grassroots Jamaica and it was important for them to be exposed to that,” Grange noted.

It was also announced that the mayors of Spanish Town and St Ann's Bay have also offered to present keys to their towns to the Reggae Girlz.

“This celebration has expanded beyond the original plan because we should have had just two keys to the city.

“It is the first time that any team sport or any sport personality would be receiving so many keys to so many towns and cities in Jamaica,” Grange exuded.

The Minister went on to point out how Jamaican women have excelled on the sporting stage, sometimes even better than the men, while suggesting the Reggae Girlz may pull off a massive surprise in France.

“When the men's Bobsled team qualified for the Olympics, we made history… we were heat on ice, we were a novelty. They crashed out as you know, but it made a great story. But when the women qualified they made history by making it to the finals.

“In track and field, Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce is the first female athlete to medal in the 100m in three consecutive Olympic Games, winning gold, gold and bronze and she is still going strong. Dionne Hemmings is the first female athlete in the Caribbean to win gold in the women's 400m hurdles.

“When the women get out there and they get the chance, they deliver!”

“So the Reggae Boyz made history by being the first to qualify for the World Cup. Now the girls have made history by being the first to qualify for the World Cup, but I know they are going to make even greater history by being the first to win the World Cup,” she said to loud applause.

Speaking directly to the players, Grange expressed hope that the celebrations would help to fuel them for the long journey ahead.

“What this celebration has done is to make you experience all levels, all strata of Jamaican life and I hope you will be enriched for that, and I hope you will be motivated,” she noted.

His Worship the Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams said the performance of the Reggae Girlz fits in nicely with his plans for the city.

“We are creating a path to make Kingston the “Pearl of the Antilles”… and you would have put a major pillar in that path by qualifying for the World Cup in 2019 in France. Really we build and create a pearl by the contributions and the achievements of our residents in Kingston and St Andrew and across the country,” Williams sstated.

Team Captain Konya Plummer, who spoke on behalf of her teammates, said that it has been a humbling experience for them.

“I would like to extend our gratitude and our appreciation to His Worship the Mayor and the entire city of Kingston for this gesture. It has been a long, hard road to this point and to be able to receive this gift, we are deeply humbled,” she said.

Plummer, who hails from St Mary, also took time out to thank some of the sponsors who have helped them along the journey so far.

“We would, however, not be able to reach this point if it wasn't for our sponsors, the Bob Marley Foundation, the Reggae Girlz Foundation, the Alacran Group, Wisynco, Supreme Ventures, Caribbean Airlines, St Mary Banana Chips, and Coca Cola,” she stated.

The team has just about six months left to prepare for their first game against Brazil in June.

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