The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has announced the first-ever recipients of its new scholarship programme, with four aspiring athletes to receive support with their education.
The JOA scholarship scheme aims to support athletes as they pursue university or college education.
Badminton athlete Tahlia Richardson, chess player Akeem Brown, rugby player Shanae Gordon and hockey's Kareme Hudson are the four chosen scholars.
JOA secretary general and chief executive Ryan Foster was the person in charge of formulating the educational bursary, which it is hoped will be a legacy project and support JOA member organisations.
"The JOA is pleased to have awarded these scholarships to the recipients representing a wide cross section of member associations, but also takes into consideration the importance of neutrality in gender," Foster said.
"These scholarships are first of its kind and are totally separate from our Olympic Solidarity scholarships offered."
Congratulation to these phenominal athletes. Tahlia Richardson, Kareme Hudson, Shanae Gordon & Akeem Brown. We're proud of you. pic.twitter.com/CJVIIzICf9— Jamaica Olympic Association (@jaolympic) September 8, 2020
JOA's member relations manager Novelette Harris added that she hoped the programme would help the athletes with their futures beyond sport.
"We will be working closely with the recipients as they pursue their courses of study, monitoring and providing guidance where necessary," said Harris.
"Part of this process includes the opportunity for them to participate in our internship programme, and so we look forward to their continued contribution to sport development and sustainability."
The scholarships are worth JMD500,000 (£2,588/$3,359/€2,872) per annum for as may as three years.
"I'm quite elated being given this platform to further inspire persons and bring them to the sport of badminton while being able to complete my studies," said 19-year-old Richardson, who represented Jamaica at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.
"Now there is an organisation that will help myself and others achieve their Olympic dream while being able to complete my degree.
"I am honoured being among the chosen for this scholarship."
Richardson is pursuing a bachelor off science degree in human resource management at the University of Technology, Jamaica.
Hudson and Brown are also studying at the University of Technology, while Gordon will be studying at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.