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Jamaica ready for Carifta Swimming, Water Polo Champs

March 26, 2013

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Although organisers are $1.2 million short of the overall $15 million budget to host the Carifta Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water Championship at the National Stadium pool and Discovery Bay, St Ann, starting this weekend, they are cock-a-hoop with the arrangements so far.

“Administratively, we have 14 committees and all committees are reporting that they are 95 per cent ready to host Carifta (Games),” said president of the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ), Martin Lyn.

Lyn, along with the organisation’s vice-president and former Olympic swimmer, Allan-Roy Marsh, as well as former national coach Jacqueline Walter, were guests at the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange held at the newspaper’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters yesterday.

Lyn told Observer journalists that the final week would be used to fine-tune things for the 28th Caribbean championship which will run from March 30 to April 3.

“We are good to go. Our facilities are up and ready, all aspects of Carifta are ready. Carifta swimming is big and we expect 18 different countries to come here for what will be one of the largest turnouts in Carifta Games history. Our teams are ready, training is going good and we are looking forward to a great weekend of Carifta,” Lyn said.

Jamaica will field a squad of 53 athletes spread across swimming, water polo and open swimming.

More than 500 athletes from across the Caribbean are down to participate in the championship.

The local swimming bosses, who also have direct administrative control over water polo, expect strong support from the Jamaica swimming fraternity, but anticipate a decent influx of overseas interests as well.

“In 2007, when we had World Cup cricket here, that same weekend was Carifta swimming, and there were probably more foreign people coming into Jamaica for Carifta swimming than those who came in for World Cup cricket,” Marsh said.

Petrojam leads the way with an individual title sponsorship of $7 million — the largest single donation to an aquatics event in Jamaica.

The ASAJ’s confidence has also been boosted by the revelation that it had booked two hotels, way in advance, to house athletes and officials in the Corporate Area.

There is presently a shortage of hotel rooms in the Kingston Metropolitan zone, following a fire that damaged sections of the popular Wyndham Hotel in the heart of the financial district of New Kingston.

Officials appear to be most upbeat about the historic open water championship, a saltwater event to be staged at Puerto Seco Beach, Discovery Bay.

Administrators, though admittedly stung by lack of expertise in organising such an event, are oozing with positive energy in anticipation of a successful staging.

“Discovery Bay is a beautiful location,” Marsh said.

“Once we get into open swimming, we can now market Jamaica as a place for it. If we upgrade our facilities, we can bring overseas teams to train here at Christmastime, like they do in Barbados.

“We can develop it as a tourism product, like how we have the Reggae Marathon. So open water swimming has stimulated an interest from our standpoint,” Marsh stated.

The open water swimming event, competed over a distance of five kilometres, will be held on Wednesday, April 3, starting at 8:30 am.

“Unlike regular pool swimming, in which there is assistance by touching pool walls, this one involves no assistance. Competitors will cover a one-kilometre course five times to determine winners,” Marsh explained.

Jamaica won 32 medals last year and, according to Marsh, the team should do better this year.

“We haven’t looked at it in terms of medal count, but I think we will improve on last year. We have some pretty good swimmers attending this year,” explaining that some of those representing the country for the first time are not based here.

“We have a pretty strong team,” said Marsh, who swam for Jamaica at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, among other regional and international events.

Lyn confirmed that persons attending the Carifta Championship will be well entertained and given countless choices.

“We have created a Carifta Village where we have booths for all different kinds of organisers, sponsors and food. It’s going to be a vibes place at the National Aquatic Centre. It’s a part of the five-year development plan to move to something new and different,” Lyn said.

“People will be selling different things. There are two people coming from USA, who understand that this is a money-making venture, and they are coming to sell things.

“We will also have giveaways,” Lyn said.

Trinidad & Tobago’s water polo team will be the first to arrive this morning.

jamacaobserver

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From → Aquatic News

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