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Samuda urges athletes to be 'good ambassadors' of Jamaica

Thursday, October 11, 2018

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda challenged the nation's representatives, among all things, to be “good ambassadors” for the country at the Youth Olympic Games.

Samuda visited the athletes in camp at the Olympic Village yesterday, a day ahead of the start of track and field, in which Jamaica are ranked as a powerhouse.

“We expect your best performance, and your best performance entails not only a good mark, or a good time, but it also means being good ambassadors for the country; that is what we expect,” he said while addressing the entire group of athletes, coaching and management staff.

The JOA president was accompanied by CEO Ryan Foster and fellow lead executives Garth Gayle, Gregory Hamilton and Laurel Smith.

“We have a rich history so far in the Games; thank you, it's good for us, Buenos Aires is going to be better. And I know, it's not a feeling; it's knowledge that I have, and that knowledge is based on my confidence in young Jamaicans, not only to rise to the occasion, but to triumph,” Samuda said.

“Each and every one of you has that in your DNA, I know it, I believe it, I feel it, and I have faith in you. So when we look on we're cheering you on as young Jamaicans carrying the flag. But more importantly, we're cheering you as human beings,” he added, noting that “this is not the end of the road, and it is my fervent hope that I will meet some of you in Tokyo.”

Jamaica won four medals at the last Youth Olympic Games in 2014 and is being represented by a 12-member team here, as previously selected Vashaun Vascianna never made the trip.

Continuing, Samuda told the youngsters: “This is just a feeding ground for you; it is just an event in your experience as young people, it's a milestone, yes, but in Tokyo you'll establish your landmark. So take this seriously, there may be a disappointment, but as I told you already, we don't negotiate with failure, absolutely we don't negotiate with failure. That is not our bedfellow, and that is not our terms of reference.

“Our context is victory for country and, more importantly victory for self, belief in self; believe in your potential, believe in your ability. We already have the raw material, most of you have gone to Champs, if not all of you, and have competed in natural events on the way to here, so you have the pedigree already; it's in you already. We just have to express it now, and when we express it, express it with a sense of humility; we shake other person's hands. Always express goodwill … at the end of the day all of us are humans. We may not win the gold medal as victors, (but we're) victors in life, victors just by being here,” inspired Samuda.

“So I want to thank you very much, because you might have said, 'I just finished my season so I'm not coming here'. But you have made the sacrifice, and for that we're very grateful. Now is the time to shine. And when you shine we'll celebrate,” the JOA president shared.

“All the very best, and we look forward to the cabinet; not gold, not silver, not bronze, but with your best and that is the medal I want you to carry back. So congrats and love you all.”