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Jamaican Sports Minister lauds development efforts during Primary School League opening

posted May 11, 2016, 8:02 PM by Jairy Otero

JASA_Opening_2Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, has hailed the Jamaica Amateur Softball Association (JASA) for its development of the sport in schools locally.

Allison McLean, permanent secretary in the Ministry, who represented the Minister Olivia Grange, delivered greetings as guest speaker at the official launch of the Primary School’s Softball League at the Mico University College where 22 schools are participating.

“I am very pleased by the progress JASA has made within the last two years and acknowledge the work being done at the high school level. We are here to ensure in whatever way possible that we assist you in growing and developing the game throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica.”

The Minister also recognised the work of Canada Softball, the governing body for softball in Canada responsible for organising and conducting coaching and umpiring courses in Jamaica. Ms. Grange described the body’s input as a “critical step forward” for the entrenchment of the game in Jamaica.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) – through the Softball Division – is also assisting the JASA’s development with a donation of softball equipment valued at over US$35,000.

Ms. Grange acknowledged that more softball coaching and umpiring courses should be offered on a biannual and quarterly basis in order to grow the sport in Jamaica.

“If we are serious about growing softball in Jamaica, we must insist on getting the sport into over 800 communities spread across all parishes,” the Minister said.

McLean said the G C Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, the only institution of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, should be a key partner in the drive to entrench softball in local schools.

“The training of softball coaches and physical education teachers at G C Foster College, Mico University College, and other tertiary institutions will ensure there is continuity when these youngsters here today, graduate into high schools and then matriculate into the tertiary system,” she said.

Meanwhile, Tommy Velazquez – president of the WBSC Americas Softball, second vice-president of WBSC Softball Division (formerly International Softball Federation, Member-At-Large of WBSC, and president of Puerto Rico Softball – said on behalf of all these organisations he headed, he was glad to see the development of softball in Jamaica as it is developing in many countries around the world.

“I certainly will support the development of softball in Jamaica as there are skills and goals to achieve. There are many scholarships around in softball, along with semi-professionals. The development of softball will need to start from the little ones,” said Velazquez, who was on his first visit to Jamaica.

Burkett Dorsett, president of the English Caribbean Amateur Softball Confederation (ECASC), said he was happy to see the return of softball in Jamaica.

JASA_Opening“ECASC will assist Jamaica in the development of the game, and it is critical to spread around the entire island. They must also have discipline and should listen to their coaches as there are many scholarships in the United States in the sport,” Dorsett said.

He wished the JASA and the players best of luck for the season, and said he will be looking for the sport’s development in Jamaica in the near future.

The participating Primary Schools are Drewsland Primary, Pembroke Hall, Ascot, Calabar, St Patrick’s, Holy Rosary, Dunrobin, St Richards, Maverley, Franklyn Town, Rollington Town, Holy Family, St Michael’s, Naggo Head, Elletson, Excelsior, Waterford, Dupont, Balmagie, Allman Town, Portsmouth and Independence City.

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