Jamaica out of gymnastics competition at Commonwealth Games

By Jodiann Gayle

Jamaica was expected participate in 11 sporting disciplines at the 20th staging of the Commonwealth Games starting on Wednesday, in Glasgow, Scotland.

But with just one day before the opening of the Commonwealth Games, there is confirmation that Jamaica will miss out on the gymnastic competition in Glasgow.

Toni-Ann Williams is the nation's only gymnast listed for the games, and she will not be allowed to participate, apparently because of an administrative failure. Her mother Marlene Hylton-Williams, spoke with TVJ sports.

“I don’t have a ticket for Toni-Ann, I don’t have a work plan for gymnastics, we don’t have a website, we don’t have an itinerary. We don’t really have anything, we have absolutely nothing," she said.

But Dave McNeish, President of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association (JAGA) asserted that those were the responsibility of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

“JAGA is not responsible for accommodation all of that arrangement is done by JOA so the JOA will be able to speak on that”, McNeish said. “And she was in contact with the JOA over the time, she have always been in contact with them, so that arrangement will rest in their hand.

But Christopher Samuda, General Secretary of the JOA, who spoke with TVJ Sports from Glasgow on Monday, insisted that the JOA did what it was required to do.

“I know that the information was conveyed to the association in keeping with protocol and that association would be obliged to convey that information to their members as well as their parent”, Samuda  commented.

“We had weekly meetings with all associations and we have also met with the gymnastics association. I have not met with them regularly, but I know the officers of the JOA met with them... So all the information was given and I think that discharges our duties”, Samuda added.


Last month TVJ reported that the Jamaica Gymnastics Association had been suspended from all international competition due to outstanding fees to the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG).

The local association was instructed by the JOA to settle this ahead of the Games, but it failed to do. According to Williams, she had to be enquiring about the association's status.

“I spoke with Mr. McNeish last week and he said the money was supposed to be paid to FIG and he was sure it was going to be paid and he will find out and call me back, he did not”, Williams recounted. “I called this morning, I did not get any response, I called Mr. Fennell, he said he thought the money was paid, so he is going to check into it. He just sent me an email saying the money was paid today (Friday)”.

McNeish gave no definite word on the payment. “It was supposed to be done, I did what I was supposed to do, I made the necessary contacts, and it was supposed to be done”, he said.

Samuda, however, offered some reasons as to what may have gone wrong in the process, saying "it may have been that when we conveyed the information, probably - and I am not saying this is the case - that it was not conveyed in totality to the parent or the athlete."

Artistic Gymnastics, in which Williams was slated to compete, will begin next Monday, July 28.


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