Tanto Silvers, Sylvia Seventh
Toronto was, once more, ablaze with the Jamaica’s Paralympic flame as short-lived overcast skies and intermittent drizzles threatened to dampen spirits. But it was not to be as Jamaica’s seasoned campaigner, Tanto Campbell, again wrote his name on the pages of the regional championship in fine style.
In the face of strong competition, Campbell used his experience in getting on the podium and securing for Jamaica glory which is now commonplace in Paralympic events.
Campbell secured the silver in the Men’s Discus (F54/F55/F56) which was won by the Americas (F56) record holder, Leonardo Diaz, of Cuba.
For Campbell, the event is his favourite for which he is well decorated. He responded to his podium finish with customary composure: “I worked for a medal and the silver is mine”.
Shot Put was a first in a very long time for Sylvia Grant as her events are the Discus and Javelin. It was a valiant effort from a decorated and versatile champion. The event was won by Mexico’s Angeles Ortiz.
The Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) continues its build up to the Rio Paralympics next year and will again have its athletes on stage at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in October.
A Golden Para Pan Am Start
Alphanso “The Ambassador” Cunningham was businesslike in clinically dispatching the opposition in the Men’s Discus F51/52/53/57 at the 2015 Toronto Para Pan American Games. It was yet another golden throw for Jamaica’s celebrated Paralympian and the country’s first medal at the Games.
Newcomer, sixteen year old Tevaughn Thomas, showed that age is not a factor in the Men’s T46/47 100m as he demonstrated tenacity in doing his personal best 12.00 but did not qualify for the final. He was the youngest in the field most of whom were ten years his senior. This was his maiden voyage and for him “it was fulfilling”
Cunningham was magnanimous in victory commending his regional colleagues for a well fought competition while putting all on notice for the World Athletics Championship scheduled for Doha in early October: “The guys showed grit and determination but I suspect I wanted the gold more; and come October it will be tough tough. But let’s see, the world may very well be at my feet”
Coach Neville Sinclair in evaluating the performances of his charges said: “Tevaughn is a champion and he will have, one day, his time in the golden sun…and Alphanso, predictable in the way he focuses, handles the competition and delivers. A model athlete”
Team Jamaica is on a roll and is set to garner more medals with Sylvia Grant, Shane Hudson, David Bascoe and team captain, Tanto Campbell, yet to bow into action at the athletic stadium of York University, the home of Para Pan American track and field exploits.
The Games Begin
The Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Para Pan American Games is now history and the records will show that sixteen year old Tevaughan Thomas, the new recruit of the Jamaica Paralympic Association, was our nation’s flag bearer.
Thomas led a team of athletes and officials, attired in elegant specially designed yellow and black tops and black pants, into the athletic stadium of the revered York University to cheers of approval and where multicultural dances and musical performances characterized an evening of sporting celebration.
So the Games will now begin and once again the Paralympic journey for regional success and glory will start in earnest with Thomas and double Olympic gold medalist and a world record holder Alphanso “The Ambassador” Cunningham taking the stage in the T46/47 100m and F51/52/53/54/57 Discus respectively.
Coach Neville Sinclair continues to go through routine training sessions with the athletes and says that “everything is on track for solid performances”. Coach Sinclair and Massage Therapist Evon Duhaney watch with eagle eyes the athletes as they prepare and condition them for competition.
“Toronto is now in gear and Jamaica’s athletes will be driven by the pride of a nation and personal aspirations in their efforts to achieve the spotlight on the podium” remarked Christopher Samuda, President of the Jamaica Paralympic Association.
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