Big bucks for Rio’s riches

first_img centy Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, minister of culture, gender affairs, entertainment & sport, revealed that the Government will spend over $82 million to honour their Olympic and Parlympic stars this Heroes weekend for their rich medal returns from the Summer Games. The celebrations will run from October 14-16. “The celebration is costing, altogether when totalled up, the amount for the cash award (to the delegation) is Jamaican $42 million, and the remainder in cash and kind would be another $40 million in cash and kind (to stage the three-day event),” Grange told The Gleaner. According to Grange, the hard work and exploits of Jamaican athletes at the Olympics and Parlympics in Rio, Brazil, could not go down without a national celebration. “A special planning committee was convened to discuss how best to demonstrate, in tangible ways, our gratitude to our athletes and their management team. Whatever we do, ladies and gentlemen, we acknowledge that there can be no monetary award that is adequate to demonstrate our appreciation of the achievements of our champions,” she explained. Grange was speaking during the launch of what was titled ‘A Programme of celebration for Rio Olympians and Paralympians’, which was held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday. Jamaica’s 63-member Olympic team finished 16th overall and third in the track and field athletics category behind Kenya and the United States of America. The nation’s Olympic heroes returned 11 medals: six gold, two silver and three bronze, while a three-member Paralympic team represented Jamaica at the Games in the same country. Grange explained that the sporting heroes will be celebrated and rewarded, in keeping with the existing policy, despite the country’s limited resources. “We hope that this, in some way, will give credence to our gratitude, so for the awards, we looked at other countries and we tried our best within our limited resources to provide the monetary reward in keeping with the existing policy,” Grange pointed out. According to the sport minister, it is value for money and “not just having a big party”. There will be an improvement in prize monies for athletes this year, adding the 2012 London Olympics figure. The reward system for athletes will be as follows; for a gold medal, athletes will receive US$10,000, US$7,500 for silver and US$5,000 for bronze. For relay gold medals the equivalent of US$6,000 will be shared by all six squad members, and for relay silver, the amount to be shared is US$4,000. Relay bronze medal squad members will split US$3,500. Also, finalists who did not medal will receive US$3,500 and non-finalists will get US$2,500. Grange said they did not “want to leave anyone out, so managers and the officials will get a touch, and they will, each get the equivalent of US$1,000”. The same pay structure applies to Paralympians. Meanwhile, 17 athletes will be flown in from overseas for the three days of celebrations. The athletes will be the guests of honour at a sports gala and awards ceremony to be held at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday. Prior to that, on Friday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness will host a reception on the lawns of Jamaica House in their honour. On Sunday, Jamaica National will host a 5K Run/Walk fundraiser for charities in western Jamaica, sponsored by the JN Group and supported by the Usain Bolt Foundation, in Falmouth, Trelawny, as part of the festivities. It will follow with a western Jamaica reception at 7 p.m. at the Braco Melia Hotel, co-hosted by the ministries of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, and Tourism.last_img read more

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Dreams from around world meet, end

first_imgFinally, he got one in 2004. The whole family chipped in to pay for his education. “We tried everything to completely finance his studies in the United States,” said his 66-year-old father, who is now making burial plans. “We only wanted him to succeed in his studies.” Virginia Tech has about 2,000 foreign students from 115 countries among its enrollment of 25,000, according to the university’s Cranwell International Center. That’s about average for a U.S. university. Professors, too, are drawn to American academia from around the world. Liviu Librescu survived the Holocaust, Cold War repression in Romania and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before arriving in Blacksburg, Va., as an internationally recognized scholar. Coming from Israel in 1985 for a year’s sabbatical, he decided to stay and was still teaching at age 76. Witnesses said Librescu was shot while holding his classroom door closed so that his students could escape through a window. Also killed in front of her students was Canadian Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, a professor of French. She was born in the Montreal area, studied in Nova Scotia and followed her husband, Jerzy Nowak, to Blacksburg when he took a job as head of Virginia Tech’s horticulture department. It’s not clear why the suspected gunman, Cho Seung-Hui, came to Virginia Tech. He apparently had no friends and spoke to few acquaintances – though as an in-state student he would have paid only about $5,500 a year in tuition. He was born in a suburb of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, and grew up poor in a rented 430-square-foot basement apartment, according to the newspaper Chosun Ilbo. Cho’s father, Cho Seong-tae, told the landlord he was leaving for America to seek a better life. So in 1992, the 8-year-old boy found himself in northern Virginia, where his family ran a dry-cleaning business and lived in a two-story town house. While Cho attended Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va. – gaining a reputation as a loner – Minal Panchal was studying in Mumbai, India, focused on becoming an architect like her late father. Books lined the walls of her room, and she was popular with neighbors. “The children in the building would go to Minal’s house for help with school homework like math,” said neighbor Jayshree Ajmane. Panchal “liked swimming and loved reading. But what she was crazy about was architecture and buildings,” said her friend Chetna Parekh. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mumbai’s Rizvi College of Architecture, and school director Akhter Chauhan said she was eager for more – but felt she needed to study in the United States to learn the most advanced techniques. She determined that Virginia Tech was best for advanced building science. Chauhan wasn’t surprised that she was accepted. “She would have walked into any university,” he said. Daniel Perez Cueva grew up playing soccer on a potholed street outside his family’s apartment in the crime-ridden Bellavista neighborhood of Lima’s port district. “He dreamed of coming to Virginia Tech because of its prestige and he did it,” his mother Betty told Peruvian radio station RPP by phone from Virginia. “For my children, I’ve made it through the good times and the bad in this country … and we’ve worked it out little by little, until this happened.” Virginia Tech also was a dream come true for G.V. Loganathan, a 51-year-old engineering professor who grew up as the son of a railway worker in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Loganathan earned two engineering degrees in India, then came to the U.S. After earning a doctorate in hydraulics and systems engineering at Purdue University, he was desperate to stay and teach in America. He gladly took the post at Virginia Tech, where his 21-year-old daughter now studies, said his brother, G.V. Palanivel. He loved his job so much, he wanted to be buried on campus to be near his students, his wife, Usha, told The Indian Express newspaper: “My husband has dedicated his heart and soul to his students, and wanted to be close to the institute even after his death.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! An Indonesian whose family sold property and cars to pay his tuition, a boy who played soccer on a potholed street in Lima and an aspiring architect from Mumbai – dreams and struggles brought them together in a small Virginia college town. An American tragedy carried grief back to their homelands and other corners of the world. At least seven of the 33 people who died in Monday’s shooting at Virginia Tech were immigrants or foreign citizens – part of more than 600,000 international scholars and students at places of higher education across the United States. The student blamed for carnage also had roots abroad, coming with his parents from South Korea to suburban Washington, D.C., as a boy in 1992. The global fallout is just one of the many mournful spectacles following the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. Across different traditions and cultures, dozens of families are momentarily united in grief and disbelief. “We wanted him to succeed … but he met a tragic fate,” said Tohom Lumbantoruan, a retired army colonel in Indonesia whose family sold property and cars to pay the tuition for his son, Partahi. The 34-year-old student from Jakarta received his undergraduate degree from a Catholic university in the west Javanese city of Bandung. Friends there recommended Virginia Tech for his doctorate. “He thought it was one of the best civil engineering schools in the world. He wanted to work in the United States. That was his dream, to study and work in the U.S.,” said his older brother, Bindu Hasungungan. Twice, his brother was accepted to the graduate school, only to have U.S. officials refuse him a student visa – which have become tougher to obtain under screening rules imposed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. last_img read more

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