Daily Observer (Jamaica)
Jamaica’s Paralympians say Amen
On the eve of the commencement of Jamaica’s campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the nation’s delegation in the land of the rising sun went earnestly in prayer for strength and victory.
Daily morning devotions in the Paralympic village, led by Dr Leroy Harrison, team doctor and noted urologist and head of the Urology Department at the Kingston Public Hospital, have become a way of life for Jamaica’s athletes and officials who continue to faithfully make their supplications known.
Dr Harrison gives a convincing perspective: “Man is basically a spiritual being in a physical body. All that we achieve in the physical, the flesh, must first be conceptualised in the mind or spiritual realm.
“Since most of our athletes have that exposure to that fundamental belief it is therefore imperative for them to give thanks and allow the divine to play a role in their performance. The stress and burden of competition and performance is lightened when confidence and assurance is shown to the one who endowed them with their talents and gifts,” he added.
The Paralympic movement was born in humanitarianism and the celebrated Sir Ludwig Guttmann is credited as founding the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic Movement. He was one of the leading pre-world War II neurologists in Germany with his base at the Jewish Hospital in Breslau. Dr Harrison hails from the same profession and it is not coincidental that his professional practice has similarly brought him to a ministry in sport.
President of the Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA), Christopher Samuda, in affirming the connection of the mind and body with the spirit and soul in sport stated: “We train the body and condition the mind in sport but often we forget to kindle the spirit and minister to the soul, both of which are indispensable in building character which in turn determines, in many ways, the quality of the mind and well-being of the body.”
The Jamaica Paralympic Association has its base in August Town, St Andrew, at the landmark Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre which, over the years, has been the temporary home for the healing and the convalescence of persons who have suffered disabilities but who have overcome challenges in becoming very able citizens of sport and society.
Sylvia Grant will be Jamaica’s first competitor at the Games when she contests the women’s Class F57 discus on Saturday. She will be followed by Theador Subba in the men’s judo +100kg on Sunday, then Alberto Campbell in the men’s 400m Class T20 next Monday, after which Shauna-kay Hines takes to the floor in women’s taekwondo K44 -49kg round of 16 on September 2.