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Financial tidal wave swamps Jamaica squad
Paul-Andre Walker, Staff Reporter
THE JAMAICA Surfing Association (JSA) has been forced to cut its squad which leaves for the World Junior Championships in Brazil today.
The squad has been hit hard by financial problems, and has had to be reduced from 12 to a mere five surfers who will compete from today through to May 14.
According to the JSA's president, Billy Wilmot, the depletion of his squad might mean that the team, which has made slow but steady progress up the international ranks over the past seven years, will find itself last.
The competition is structured in such a way that a team has four surfers in each of three different age groups: Under-18 girls, Under-18 boys and Under-16 boys.
From each of those divisions the best three surfers add to the team's total. As such, Jamaica would need to have at least nine surfers to give themselves a chance of getting off the bottom place.
At the last junior championships in California last year, Jamaica finished a respectable 19th from 29 teams.
According to Wilmot, the individual scores will still matter a great deal.
"The individual scores of the surfers will stand in their own divisions," said Wilmot, who is still reeling from this setback.
"It was tough, but you have to realise that surfing is still young in Jamaica and going to the World Junior Championships is also a development strategy," he said.
"It's not only about winning but developing character, giving them exposure and showing them that there is a big wide world out there that they can all be a part of."
Wilmot added that annually the association struggles to find money and that the cycle will continue with the senior championships set for October.
Wilmot went on to explain that the activities of the JSA could cost up to about $12 million a year. This year it has only managed to account for $1 million of that figure.