Voices April - September 2023

19 he theme, “Enabling Abilities in Sport: Encompassing All” formed the focus of the 13th annual Caribbean Conference on Sport Sciences hosted by University of Technology, Jamaica through its Caribbean School of Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science and Sport (FOSS) held April 5, 2023, at the Shared Facilities Building, Papine Campus. The conference featured an expert cadre of speakers who shared new and emerging scientific knowledge, innovation, and perspectives on inclusivity in sport, transcending varying barriers and levels of ability. Welcoming the large gathering of sports administrators, coaches, athletes, educators, students, members of sporting associations and sponsors, Prof. Colin Gyles, CD, Acting President, UTech, Jamaica, noted that FOSS has continued to blaze a trail with the staging of the sports sciences conference over the last twelve years, returning to a face-to-face presentation for the first time in two years. Professor Gyles stated that “this important focus is in keeping with the World Health Organization’s recommendation that everyone should have access to opportunities to learn, to play and to enjoy sport across all levels of ability,” adding that “the theme is also in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which acknowledges that sport is an important enabler of sustainable development, recognizing the power of sport to promote an endless list of human values such as discipline, teamwork, integrity, empathy, love, and self-esteem. “ Dr. Kamilah Hylton, Dean, FOSS in her welcome, further highlighted the importance of the conference’s focus on an issue that aligns with national sport policy Goal number 1: “Sport for all,” and which also aligns with the tenets of the Disabilities Act (2022). The conference theme also supports the Kazan Action Plan to which Jamaica is a signatory, as well as the National Development Goals for—Access to All and Integrity in Sport. Acknowledging that Jamaica still has a far way to go with achieving this policy goal, the Dean shared that research carried out by the Caribbean School of Sport Sciences demonstrates high levels of unpreparedness by schools to facilitate inclusion for students of varying abilities in physical education activities. Dr. Hylton explained, “we found that by simply implementing some science-based solutions and by introducing simple adaptation strategies, all students could be involved in physical education activity.” Dr. Donna-Marie Wynter-Adams, Head, Caribbean School of Sport Sciences and Conference Chair, also underscored that the theme of the conference “continues on our support for national development goals embodying Vision 2030...and sustainable development goals through and with sports.” FOSS Conference Focuses on Enabling Abilities in Sport 10 12 April- September 2023 | VOICES Bi- Monthly Magazine of the University of Technology, Jamaica Continued on page 13 She stated that the conference presentations were designed to give participants a better understanding of the factors necessary to facilitate an enabling environment in sport across different abilities and to gain an appreciation of some of the prevailing challenges, while proffering solutions. Greetings from the Hon. Oliva Grange, CD, MP, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport were delivered by Mrs. Florette Blackwood who extended the Minister’s commendation to UTech, Jamaica on the staging of the conference and expressed her expectation that the conference outcomes will help to enhance policy and programme design development in sport. Keynote speaker, Mr Christopher Samuda, President, Jamaica Olympic Association delivered a wide-ranging address which challenged participants and the wider community “to break barriers” and to become activists in empowering persons of all abilities to participate in sport. In urging citizens to reject all forms of discrimination and prejudices, Mr. Samuda called for policy making that defines and enables rights of all. “Jamaica needs a distinct, national strategic policy with a business model” which supports equity, inclusion, accessibility and nondiscrimination,” he asserted. Dr. Kamilah Hylton, Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport presents a gift of appreciation to Mr. Christopher Samuda, President, Jamaica Olympic Association following his delivery of the keynote address at the annual Conference on Sport Sciences held April 5, 2023 at the UTech, Jamaica Papine Campus. T