Preliminary discussions by the Government to extend the largest bilateral sports cooperation agreement with China have been favourable.
The three-year programme, dubbed the Jamaica-China Technical Cooperation Programme, is in its second year.
Under the programme, 138 Jamaican athletes, managers and coaches in seven sporting disciplines travel to China for 60 days for specialised training during the summer.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe, says the Minister, Hon. Olivia “Babsy” Grange, has had some preliminary discussions and those have been favourable, as “both China and Jamaica have expressed an interest.”
However, he adds that there is a process that has to be followed if there is to be an extension and what will be involved in that extension.
Similar sentiments were shared by Lyu Guoguang, General Manager of the China Sports International Corporation.
“All the athletes have achieved some good goals… the first one is improved performance. The young athletes have strengthened friendship with each other … and the young people of Jamaica are getting to know China right now. So, the Chinese and Jamaican governments also hope that this project can be extended,” he said.
Both Mr. Guoguang and Mr. Thorpe were speaking to JIS News following a meeting to discuss the progress of the programme at China Sports International Corporation, in Beijing, on August 16.
Mr. Thorpe is leading a Jamaican delegation in China to observe how the Jamaican athletes are progressing.
In addition to extending the programme, proposals have also been made to expand the programme to include other sporting disciplines.
Mr. Thorpe said that other sporting bodies in Jamaica have expressed an interest in being a part of a new programme or an extension of the programme.
The Jamaica-China Technical Cooperation Programme was initiated in 2017 with the signing of an agreement between the People’s Republic of China and Jamaica. More than 400 Jamaican athletes will travel to China for training over the next three years.