JPA President Christopher Samuda (centre) with distinguished Paralympians Neville Sinclair (right) and Alphanso Cunningham after they were honoured by the University of Technology at the recent Caribbean Conference on Sports Sciences.

Distinguished Paralympians Neville Sinclair and Alphanso Cunningham were honoured by the University of Technology recently at the Caribbean Conference on Sports Sciences.

Multiple gold medallists in regional and international games and former world record holders in the para sport of athletics, the track records of the national honorees continue to be inspirational to generations of sportsmen and women in both the Paralympic and Olympic fraternities.

“I am humbled to be recognised by the University of Technology, and I receive this honour on behalf of the entire Paralympic family, particularly the athletes who sacrifice so much to represent the country and who are continuing to fight the odds with success,” said Sinclair, who is now the sports manager for the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA).

It was a fitting tribute to two stalwarts of sport, who started their journeys years ago as aspiring youths at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in August Town, the home of the local Paralympic movement.

Cunningham remembers the beginning: “It was a bit challenging, but if you have a spirit to overcome, which I did then, and still have, you just move forward with the confidence that you will do your family and country proud; and give lessons to those young ones who, like me, started with a dream.”

It is a dream that, JPA President Christopher Samuda argues, has materialised into distinguished careers.

Samuda said: “Inspired ambition in Neville and Alphanso created the reality of sterling accomplishments, which served as and remains a testimony to the discipline of the mind, the resilience of the spirit, the strength of character and excellence of talent.”

The theme of the conference was ‘Enabling Abilities in Sport: Encompassing All’, and JPA Director Ryan Foster gave thumbs up to the honorees: “Neville and Alphanso are more than able; they are enablers of the Paralympic dream and our national pride in sports.”

The agenda of the conference facilitated discussions on critical subjects, including supporting abilities in sport, training opportunities for special abilities, gender ability in sport, transgender participation in female competitions and anti-doping and the disabled.