Photo: Junior USAG level 3 gymnast Leah Page Phillips participating on day one of the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association (JAGA) Gymnastic Classics last Saturday.
After reports circulated in the media on Tuesday that the Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association (JAGA) had been granted permission to host a Mini National Trials at their home base at Slipe Road last weekend, their President Mrs. Nicole Grant-Brown has moved swiftly to clear the air.
While stating explicitly that no permission was granted by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Grant-Brown explained in a press release, what it is that actually transpired during the two day event, this past weekend.
“The Jamaica Amateur Gymnastics Association (JAGA) sincerely apologizes to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports for the misleading information reported by the media that we received from the Government permission to host a Mini National Trials.
“That said, we were otherwise led to believe that once the gathering was small and the protocols stipulated by the Government were in place to ensure safety and health, we were good to go particularly in view of the recent announcement made by the Prime Minister that sporting events and activities would now be opened.”
The President explained that managing the numbers was quite easy based on the small following that gymnastics has in Jamaica.
“We do not have, as is the case with mass sports, many patrons and indeed the event which was held was restricted and easily managed. The event was held over a two-day period and only 10 or less gymnasts were allowed in a session and one parent per child to watch while their child competed.
“All were required to wear masks, including the competitors, and they were only removed when they competed. Thereafter, they were replaced immediately.
“All were subjected to temperature checks and arising from that exercise there were no incidents. Further, persons were prohibited from wearing shoes in the facility and were made to sanitize properly and thoroughly under supervision in a station outside before entering the facility. Moreover, all competitors had and officials had to sanitize before and after an event.”
Grant-Brown regretted the misunderstanding caused by the report even as the athletes continue to chase their Olympic dreams.
“Please note that from last year April we indeed submitted to the Ministry detailed protocols but regrettably we did not receive and have not received to date an adverse response which caused us to believe that once the protocols were honoured we would not have any challenges.
“We regret the misunderstanding and trust that this incident will not impair the good relationship that we have with the Ministry and will not be inimical to the interests of the Association, the many athletes whose, Olympic and World Championship dream of representing their country are lived earnestly every day and, generally, to the development of the sport in Jamaica which continues to face challenges in the pandemic.
“With the Tokyo Olympic Games nearing and regional and global tournaments imminent, we trust that the sport of Gymnastics will be afforded training opportunities for its athletes that will give them a reasonable prospect of transitioning to the international stage for the glory of their country.”