President of the Jamaica Taekwondo Federation, Conrad Jenkins, has achieved what no one else in the local taekwondo fraternity has accomlished in being selected by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), the world governing body for the sport, to officiate at this year’s Rio Olympic Games.
“I am humbled by the honour and grateful to my country for affording me the opportunity to serve the sport of taekwondo. I have achieved, but far more important is my hope that this small feat will serve as an inspiration to others in the sport to do better,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins’ journey to the pinnacle has been unquestionably admirable. In 2015, the WTF chose the top 260 international referees globally, of which Jenkins was a selectee, to participate in referee and training camps in various parts of the world. At the end of all the training camps, the WTF selected 50 from the 260 referees and Jenkins was an obvious choice.
The newly selected 50 referees were then tested at various championships with a view to determining suitable candidates for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. These included the 2015 WTF World Taekwondo Championships, held in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on May 12-18; the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix, held in Samsun, Turkey, on September 17-20, 2015; the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix, held in Manchester, UK, on October 16-18, 2015; the WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, held in Mexico City, Mexico, on December 5-6, 2015; the 2016 European Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 16-17; the 2016 African Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in Agadir, Morocco, on February 6-7; the 2016 Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on February 27; the 2016 Pan Am Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on March 10-11, 2016; and the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in Manila, Philippines, on April 16-17, 2016.
After the final Olympic Qualification Tournament in Manila, Philippines, the WTF then selected the 30 referees who would officiate at this year’s Rio Olympic Games and Jenkins earned the distinction of being numbered in the ranks.
Among his many achievements are his officiating at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in China and receiving the Best Male Referee Award at the 2015 WTF World Cup Team Taekwondo Championships in Mexico City, Mexico. But the greatest to date, undoubtedly, is his being selected to officiate at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
In commenting on Jenkins’ selection, secretary general of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, said: “Conrad has earned a coveted place in the history of the local sport and indeed on the global stage of the sport of taekwondo. We salute him on a well-deserved accomplishment born out of an abiding love for and commitment to the sport, unquestionable talent and laudable professionalism.”