If the Executive Director and students of the Caribbean Maritime Institute have their way, they will be among the participants at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

That is because Dr. Fritz Pinnock is the President of the Jamaica Rowing Federation and students from the Caribbean Maritime Institute are currently in serious training – all in a bid to make Jamaica’s debut in the sport of rowing at the Olympics in Brazil, 2016.

At the Launch of the Jamaica Rowing Federation at the CMI on Friday, May 15, Dr. Pinnock and his team gave a commitment that they will be doing all they can to have a presence in Rio, 2016. Dr. Pinnock used the opportunity to chronicle the history of rowing in the Olympics, advising that it was one of the oldest sports represented and said that its emergence in Jamaica will add to the diverse array of sports in the island. He highlighted the fact that the World Rowing Federation has contributed equipment to the JRF already, pointing out that the sport was ‘here to stay’.

Mrs. Florette Blackwood who represented Minister with responsibility for Sports, Mrs Natalie Neita Headley extended congratulations to the JRF for the bold step they were embarking on. She says this was an investment in growth and international competition and pledged the government’s commitment to partner with and facilitate the progress of the sport.

Also speaking was Mr Christopher Samuda who said that that the JRF had defied many challenges in ensuring that this aspect of brand Jamaica is showcased. He noted that this rowing would add to the tourism offerings in the island and would be a great way to promote sports tourism.

Denzil Wilks, Head of the Sports Development Fund (SDF) in making a pledge of $1M One Million Dollars to the JRF says the SDF is ‘sold on the rowing initiative’.  “Rowing will soon be removed from the clutches of elitism with this initiative,” he said.

Two of the students from the CMI, Michelle Bloomfield and Otis Harvey whore currently in training for the team gave their experiences since taking up the sport. Both of them who went to El Salvador on a ‘learning tour’ spoke of the challenges they faced but highlighted the fact that they persevered and came through with favourable results.  

For Technical Director of the Federation, Mr Leon McNeil, who also went on the trip to El Salvador, the experience in that country was a very useful one. He said that trips such as those and others which will be undertaken to assist the team’s preparation, will position Jamaica as the hub of the sport in the Caribbean.