Jamaican Olympians receive U.S. Congressional Awards

Two of Jamaica’s most prolific Olympians, Grace Jackson and Bertland Cameron have been honored with proclamations from U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn).

The proclamations were presented at the Team Jamaica Bickle annual reception and awards ceremony in Manhattan, Thursday, hosted by fellow Olympian and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Devon Harris. Harris captained Jamaica’s 1998 Winter Olympic Bob Sled Team.

Other Olympians on hand were Alfred Daley, 400m specialist, who shared the stage with Lennox Miller, Donald Quarrie and later, a younger Bertland Cameron; Andria Lloyd, who represented Jamaica in the 1996 Olympics 4x100m relays; and Danny McFarlane, silver medalist in the 4x400m. Olympic games.

Leroy Comrie, the Jamaican-born Councilman, who represents the 27th Council District in Queens, and Grenada-born Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents Brooklyn’s 45th District, presented citations to the honorees.

“Both Bertland and myself are extremely grateful to be recognized by an entity, who like ourselves, are working hard to make a difference in sports,” Jackson said.

“To do something that you love and be honored by your peers is an extraordinary feeling,” she added.

In a special recorded message to the honorees, on behalf of the government and people of Jamaica, Sports Minister Natalie Neita-Headley, said she was delighted in joining Team Jamaica Bickle and the Diaspora in “celebrating Jamaica’s best assets, her people, against the backdrop of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.”

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, and we thank the community whole-heartedly,” said Irwine Clare, founder and president of the New York-based Team Jamaica Bickle.

The nonprofit organization provides “much needed support” for Jamaican athletes who compete at the annual Penn Relays Carnival, held at the University of Pennsylvania. This year’s event starts from Apr. 26-28.

Team Jamaica Bickle has supported athletes and athletic programs for the past 17 years. Currently, its services extend to a delegation of about 750 athletes, coaches and volunteers from Jamaica; other Caribbean countries, which includes Trinidad and Tobago and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the U.S.

In 1999, Team Jamaica Bickle became the first Jamaican organization to be a participating sponsor at the Penn Relays.

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