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Let’s Play: Jamaica’s Wide Array of Sports

If you’re into more traditional sports, then check out a local game of football (American soccer) or cricket. The island’s British colonial heritage has fostered a passion for both exciting sports.

The Jamaica Cricket Association hosts the annual Senior Cup, a two-day event that is chock-full of nail-biting excitement. The competition features teams from all across the island vying for the top spot. Summer is an exciting time for the games as well, since it means that the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will be the highlight in Sabina Park — the nation’s largest cricket stadium — for roughly a week. During the CPL staging, Corporate Jamaica opens its viewing boxes, throwing lavish parties to entertain their partners and customers alike.

There’s similar fanfare when Jamaica’s national football team, the Reggae Boyz, are at “the office” — a term of endearment for the National Stadium whenever a match is being staged. Imagine the rush, buzz and thrill of a 35,000-strong crowd chanting, cheering and supporting the home team.

A sport gaining popularity is netball. Ranked fourth in the world, the Jamaican netball team is aptly called the Sunshine Girls. Their loss to Australia in the 2015 Netball World Championships notwithstanding, these golden girls are the pride of the nation and have earned their ranks amongst the sporting greats of the island. Led by the fearless and colourful Marva Bernard, president of the Jamaica Netball Association, the 24-member squad has caused people to sit up and pay attention to a sport that could be considered the underdog up against the more popular track and field and football.

Track and Field
Track and field is one of Jamaica’s most beloved sports. One need look no further than our athletic prowess at the Olympics. Jamaica is celebrated on the world’s stage as the likkle but tallawah (patois for “little but strong”) island that continues to produce track and field greats like Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser– Pryce, who can lay claim to being the two fastest people on earth.

And it’s Jamaica’s strong showing on the 2016 Olympic stage that will keep our track and field programme growing for years to come. All across the island, young boys and girls compete in various on-island tournaments with the hopes and dreams of becoming Jamaica’s next big track star.