Today, history was made in London at the 2012 Paralympic Games, when Jamol Pilgrim, wearing Bib number 2022, took his place in Heat number 1 of the 100m -T42. He did so as Antigua and Barbuda’s first Paralympian and the first Caribbean athlete to compete in the sprints at the Paralympics.
Clearly awestruck by the moment and the packed Olympic Stadium, Pilgrim’s reaction time to the pistol was slow. As a result, his time of 15.76 was not good enough for him to advance to the Finals.
The moment was electrifying and Jamol’s performance was credible and deserving of our highest commendation. His participation in the Games demonstrates our capacity to compete at the highest levels of international sport and ushers in a new era for persons with disabilities in Antigua and Barbuda.
Government and Corporate Antigua are encouraged to invest in opportunities and services for persons with disability and to facilitate the realisation of their interests and capabilities. In the area of sports development, a call is hereby made on the Government, through the Ministry of Sports, to make the necessary adjustments in the program thrust of the ministry’s services to include a meaningful focus on sports for persons with disabilities. Simply forwarding messages of support and publicising the work and accomplishments of national associations cannot be the work of a minister/ministry of sports. Policy initiatives, modern legislation, functional infrastructural development and funding of the nation’s sports and athletes are critical areas of need; all demanding immediate ministerial intervention.
Antigua and Barbuda’s representation at the 2012 Paralympics is just the first step in realising and catering to the athletic abilities and interests of our physically challenged youth and definitely a step in the right direction. Nothing short of a national commitment to this process is acceptable. The National Olympic Committee has led the way in providing the resources needed for the athlete’s preparation in the USA, his participation in the Paralympics and the funding of the team which provided administrative and technical support to the athlete.
Jamol Pilgrim represented Antigua and Barbuda with great pride, and has the distinction of being our first and to date only Paralympian. We commend, salute and celebrate him. Thank you Jamol, you made us proud and have paved the way for a new dimension to our national sports program. As he would say……………………”No ceilings!”
Senator the Hon. E.P. Chet Greene
Antigua and Barbuda Olympic Committee