On Sunday, March 18, the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) was declared the home of rowing in Jamaica, in a dedication ceremony to officially open the Jamaica Rowing Federation (JRF) Boathouse.
This is aligned to the university’s commitment to support non-traditional sports in Jamaica and is timely as the JRF has confirmed its intention to ‘row to the 2020 Olympics’ in Tokyo Japan. To do so it needed equipment, coaches and training facilities. These resources were acquired through the support of local and international partners and dedication of the Federation to make participation in the summer games a reality. The Boathouse will house equipment, store valuable training machinery and be the JRF headquarters in Jamaica.
Members from the CMU rowing club try out the new erg machines which were provided through funding from the Jamaica Olympic Association.
Partnership at work
CMU provided the physical space, equipped with security features and showers, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) donated six erg machines which facilitates training, and certification for fifteen coaches was endorsed by World Rowing (FISA) – the organization that regulates rowing internationally. Certification followed a week-long development camp for rowers and coaches, designed to build the capacity of the rowers, increase the number of rowers that will become certified coaches, and grow Jamaica’s rowing programme, thereby strengthening its campaign to ‘Row to the Olympics’, for 2020 in Tokyo. Training was facilitated by John Parker, Trainer, High Performance Rowing Coach and Programme Innovator. Parker served as a member of the coaching team for the United States at the RIO Olympics and who also coached the first Nigerian rower to ever race at the Olympics.
In his remarks, Secretary-General for the JRF, Robert Scott, noted that this coaches’ development camp is of critical importance because the lack of coaches is the single largest obstacle in building an elite rowing team and that through this training, the number of coaches increased from just three to eighteen. He also thanked the JOA for its partnership, generous donation and continued support. Samuda, who offered greetings on behalf of the JOA, commended the JRF for its valiant efforts to diversify Jamaica’s sporting excellence in non-traditional sports and the CMU for its vision, and unwavering support of the Federation, citing that institutional support plays a vital role in the development of sports worldwide. In his address, Coach Parker cited the talent, passion and discipline of the rowers as fantastic features of an Olympic campaigning team and encouraged other organizations to support the Jamaican rowing programme.