Jamaica Rugby League thanks sports minister, SDF

jam rubyJAMAICA'S Reggae Warriors, who became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the Rugby League World Cup when they defeated USA 16-10 in Jacksonville recently, have been feted by the nation's sports minister.

“These have been such wonderful displays by Jamaica in a sport in which we have not been traditionally strong,” said Olivia Grange, in a message to the team on their success in becoming the 11th nation of 16 to be confirmed for the 2021 tournament in England.

“Not just the players, but the coach, the manager and all others around the team deserve our highest regard and as the minister of sport it is my great pleasure to convey those sentiments to them as we laud the magnificent performance that has once again created history for Jamaica.”

Jamaica Rugby League Association (JrLA) director of rugby Romeo Monteith has responded to the Ministry of Sports' public recognition of the Reggae Warriors with the following statement:

“We thank The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports for her kind words of acknowledgement towards the team. We look forward to engaging with her at some point to see how the growth and future of rugby league can be secured on the island. “In the same breath, the JRLA wishes to acknowledge the role of the Government of Jamaica through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) that has supported this association since 2011 when we were first recognised as a sport.

It is the SDF that saved our campaign to the qualifiers when Chairman Mr Denzil Wilks and his team approved the highest-ever grant to the JRLA, 1.4 million Jamaican dollars; this was used to plug the massive deficit in our 5.4-million dollar budget to participate in the tournament.

We also wish to acknowledge The Rugby League International Federation, The Rugby League European Federation, Hong Kong-based company BSX, UK-based company, Rugby League Around The Ground, Jamaican company Prime Sports Limited and our UK-based company BuySportKit.UK. Most of all, we wish to thank and acknowledge all the players and staff who covered the majority of their expense to this campaign, all of whom, like in all previous occasions they have represented this country, took or asked for no match payments or payments of any form.

“It is our sincere wish that a legacy be left for generations of rugby league players and fans in this country from this historic occasion. It is our sincere wish that the Government of Jamaica and Corporate Jamaica will help in the establishment of a home for Jamaica Rugby League. We just want a field with a changing room and club house, where there is no one to chase us away and the kids can play safely. We have shown that this sport can bring tangible benefits to the nation and we appeal for this basic amenity to secure this sport for generations to come.

“Finally, it is important that Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora rally behind this team and sport.

“Qualification for the major global sporting event in England, 2021, is massive for brand Jamaica. The global exposure and its implications for tourism is to be greatly valued and we appeal to both government and corporate entities to come on board and help ensure the spotlight is on Jamaica's participation in the tournament.”

Source: Jamaica Observer

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