Jamaica’s Paralympic team on Saturday got a $1.3 million injection of cash from sponsors Jamaica Beverages through its brand Busta towards their trip to the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico from November 12-20.

The cheque was presented at a small function held at GM Challenger headquarters on Molynes Road in Kingston.

(From left) Jamaica Beverages marketing manager Tracy-Ann Thelwell, coach Neville Sinclai, Ann Marie Smith, Shane Hudson, Jefferson Davis, Alphonso Cunningham, Tanto Campbell, Kevon Reid, David Bascoe, Courtney Lodge; Jamaica Paralympic Association general secretary Suzanne Harris-Henry; and first vice-president Christopher Samuda at Saturday’s symbolic cheque presentation at the offices of GM Challenger. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

Six athletes and four officials will make the journey to Central America, including Alphonso Campbell who won discus gold and javelin silver at the last Parapan Am Games in Rio 2007. Cunningham, who also holds the Parapan Am record in both, will compete in the F-53 class.

Beijing Paralympic bronze medallist Tanto Campbell will compete in the F-56 class discus; Kevon Reid competes in the F-55 shot put, while veteran Sylvia Grant will compete in the F-57 class discus and javelin.

Shane Hudson, who competes in the T46 200m and 400m and Davis Bascoe in the 400m and 800m, will make their first trip to a Parapan American Games.

Chef de Mission Christopher Samuda leaves on November 7 ahead of the rest of the management team, which includes physiotherapist Ajay Kapu and coaches Neville Sinclair and Jefferson Davis.

Meanwhile, Jamaica Paralympic Association general secretary Suzanne Harris-Henry said that the association had finally received the $1 million promised from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF).

The amount would have gone towards sending Jamaica’s team to the World Championships in New Zealand in January, but came too late and so the Jamaica Paralympic Association asked for the funds to be put towards this effort.

Harris-Henry told the Observer that she expects a good showing in Mexico next month.

“I expect that the team should perform very well. Alphonso in particular having the Parapan Am record is aiming and maybe beat his record, possibly the world record… I am not sure about our runners (as) it’s their first time with us and maybe we might have a Usain Bolt of Paralympics. It would be really interesting to see how well they do,” she said.

Hudson, who hails from Moneague, St Ann, said he just hopes to make it to the final of his individual events and then take it from there.

“I don’t feel any pressure to perform. Last year I went to the Commonwealth Games and took part in the 100m… I didn’t have a good start in the semi-finals so this year I switched to the 200m,” he said.

Bascoe, who travelled from his home in Ocho Rios, St Ann for Saturday’s ceremony is aiming for the medal podium in Mexico.

“I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just relaxed. When I go I just go to win. I have been training hard enough to win, he said.

Jamaica Beverages marketing manager Tracy-Ann Thelwell, in the meantime, said her company likes to focus on those sports which don’t get a lot of attention.

“We see this team as a really, really good team… they’ve done a lot in the past and we just felt that our contribution would be felt within this environment. We wish them all the best and we know they will bring back medals for us,” she said.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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