Brazilian travel agents competing at an annual golf tournament, at Sandals Ocho Rios, hinted last Friday that Jamaicans could be targeted for special travel offers to the Rio 2016 Olympics. The world’s greatest-ever sprinter, Jamaican Usain Bolt, will be chasing his ninth gold medal in three consecutive Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year. It will also be his final Olympic Games as he has stated his intention to retire after the 2017 IAAF World Championships. Also chasing Olympic history will be Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, looking invincible and on target for a third-straight 100m gold. Maria Terresinha De Souza said Jamaica’s expected prowess in Rio 2016 will definitely have her thinking about special packages for Jamaicans desirous of travelling to Brazil for the Games. “This is an opportunity to think about it and find something special for Jamaica,” she said. Meanwhile, Daise Tanara De Souza of Magic Tour Viagens E Turismo, said Brazilians and Jamaicans have a lot in common. “There is a good connection between Brazil and Jamaica. Brazilians are similar to Jamaicans in their way of life,” she said, adding that she will also be seeking innovative ways of putting together attractive travel packages for Jamaicans. There is no visa requirement, up to 90 days, for Jamaicans travelling to Brazil. The countries have enjoyed a strong sporting relationship, particularly in football. Pele remains king of the sport for an older generation of football-loving Jamaicans. It was almost ordained that it was a Brazilian, Rene Simoes, who historically guided Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup finals in France. Brazil played a pivotal role in Jamaica’s Road To France campaign. Simoes had taken the Reggae Boyz to Samba Land to teach them the finer points of the game on better playing surfaces and against legendary club teams from that country. The Rio 2016 opening ceremony will be at the world famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, 2016.
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):West Indies captain Jason Holder believes parity in earnings will motivate players to focus more on international cricket instead of solely on the lucrative Twenty20 format.Holder was responding to claims by England star Kevin Pietersen that the game’s biggest stars, especially those from West Indies, were being lost to international cricket because of the lure of T20s.Pietersen, a former Test star who now peddles his talents on the T20 circuit, said that the International Cricket Council needed to intervene to ensure that there were competitive financial incentives available to players in international cricket.”I think it’s possibly a way to keep [Test cricket] alive. Obviously, we’re in a situation where the money isn’t great for us at the moment, and we’ve been in numerous battles for that, but that’s beyond our control at this present time,” Holder told reporters yesterday.”At the end of the day, hopefully, somewhere along the line we can have an increase in pay and be paid a little bit better than at the moment.”Pietersen was echoing sentiments similar to those of West Indies’ chief selector Clive Lloyd, who said on Friday that the money on offer on the global T20 circuit had resulted in several Caribbean players opting out of Test cricket.West Indies players like Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Samuel Badree, and AndrÈ Russell are all campaigning in the Big Bash League, while an inexperienced Caribbean side has been locked in a three-Test series with Australia.Holder said priority needed to be placed on international cricket and believed players would take this option once there was some balance, financially, with T20s.”I think we need to strike a balance, and I’m not knocking T20 cricket because I love T20 cricket myself, but we just need to find a way where the country comes first and then we are flexible in terms of allowing people to make money outside of international cricket,” the 24-year-old said.”I don’t think we should be playing hardball and deny people from going and playing, but there has to be a situation where we make international cricket our first priority. I think once we get to that stage, the players will buy in.”