courtesy of: The Morning News
The London Olympic games will take place between July 27th and 12th August 2012. Two of the Aruban athlete's who will be participating are showcased below.
Jemal Le Grand - Swimming
Jemal began practicing the sport of swimming at the age of 7. Initially he did not take to swimming, tennis was his favorite sport. At the age of 11 his parents asked him if he wanted to compete in a swimming pre-selection. His mother always told him that he could see the world by becoming a great swimmer and that is when Jemal began training seriously.
His first months went very well. His first big competition was at the 2007 Kingdom Games in Holland where Jemal won his first medal in the international competition. At that time he was a member of THE ORCAS team. Later Jemal went to swim with the Stingray Swimming group, the group he remains with to date.
Like every athlete, Jemal has his memorable moments. He remembers his medal wins in different regional competitions, such as, the gold medal he won in the CCCAN in the 100 meter freestyle in the 13-14 years category in 2009. He also remembers the gold medal he won in the CCCAN 100 meter freestyle in 2011. And, just a few weeks ago, he won gold in the CISC in the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, also the 100 meter freestyle in the 15-17 years category and a CISC RECORD. He also scored an Aruban record in the 15-17 years 100 meter freestyle, the 50 meter freestyle 15-17 years, which was also a record for Aruba.
Now 18 years old, Jemal is a member of the Davie Nadadores in Florida, USA which he combines with studying at Sagemont. The scholarship which Jemal received from the International Olympic Committee made it possible for him to study in the USA.
When asked how his preparations are going for the 2012 London Olympic Games, here is what Jemal had to say.
"How is it going with your preparation?"
Jemal: "My preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games is going well, with good results, the CISC competition went as desired."
"What would it be like for you to represent Aruba at the Olympic Games?"
Jemal: "It will be a great accomplishment for me, an unforgettable experience, extremely important for my future in the swimming sport, a unique experience that very few people ever get in life. It would be a great honor to be one of the few athletes to represent their country."
"What can Aruba expect from Jemal Le Grand at the 2012 London Olympic Games?"
to which Jemal said: "Aruba can certainly expect the best result from me. I want to better my personal record and more than anything to be a worthy representative of Aruba."
Jayme Mata - Judo
About sixteen years ago Jayme decided he would train for Judo at the Judo Center in Tanki Leendert so he could become professional in the sport of Judo. He joined the Judo Center and immediately admired the dedication and level of the Judo players like Guido Carlo, Vito Carlo, Daniel Marquina, Fiderd Vis and Javier Wanga.
Soon Jayme began training day and night to improve his judo level. In 2001, Jayme completed his VWO high school education and chose to continue his studies in Holland. A few weeks after arriving in Holland he was invited to train with the Arnhem and Nijmegen selection, also with Judo Top Tilburg. Thus, he combined his Judo training during the week with Mondays at Arnhem, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Nijmegen and on Fridays he would train with Javier Wanga in Tilburg.
In 2002 together with Javier Wanga, Jayme began competing in individual competitions and teams. In 2004, he experienced his best year in the Judo sport. That was the year that Jayme won the International KAN Tournament. He won a Silver medal in the Tomoda International and Pot van Olen in Belgium. In London, England that same year Jayme won a Bronze medal.
Together with the Nijmegen team he earned first place in the promotions ranking. In the majority of competitions Jayme was always among the 7 best fighters. In 2005 Jayme received his first invitation from Aruba to compete as a representative of Aruba. That was the first time that he participated in the Pan American Championships which took place in Puerto Rico.
In the Pan American Championship Jayme ended up in seventh place where through elimination he won his opponent from Paraguay, then to lose against Roberto Ibanez who represented Ecuador at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In 2006 Jayme received another opportunity to compete for Aruba at the Central American and Caribbean Games. Jayme felt he was in top shape and on an excellent Judo level; however, regrettably, he suffered a back injury.
An MRI scan revealed that Jayme had suffered a hernia in his neck, consequently for two long years Jayme could not compete in Judo. Nonetheless, he continued to train his techniques in Arnhem just to keep in shape. As an athlete and excellent student, Jayme completed his Master’s degree at the University of Utrecht and began a professional career at KPMG. In his interview with KPMG, he observed that KPMG was also pleased that he was an athlete. And, even though his work at KPMG demanded much from him, Jayme tried to fit in at least 3 trainings per week and on weekends he would run and do fitness training to keep in shape.
In 2008, Jayme received an opportunity to compete in the Brazil World Cup and to remain for training together with Fiderd Vis, which was Fiderd’s preparation for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
It was there in Brazil that Jayme discovered that he was still a great player, and decided to resume training in Nijmegen so he could develop again.
In 2011, Jayme began competing again in his old weight of 66 kilos. He succeeded in winning all his games in the university championships and came out in 4th place with his team.
At the beginning of 2012 Jayme received a call from his coach, informing him that he had received a personal invitation to compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games. This made him very happy and began making all preparations for the trip to London. He succeeded in training with Dutch competitor Jeroen Mooren who will represent Holland in the 60 kilo category in London. KPMG is also very pleased and has given Jayme their full cooperation to plan his work and training schedules. Jayme is now off to the biggest competition of his life.
Here’s a brief summary of his responses to some questions posed to Jayme about his preparations in the the 2012 London Olympic Games:
"How are your preparations going?"
Jayme: "The preparations are going very well. Every week I am making more progress in my sport. My Judo techniques have improved in the past months in my training with Jeroen Mooren who will be representing Holland in the 60 kilos category. Every Sunday morning while we are both in Holland, we agree to train our techniques and conditions. Now that I am also training in Barcelona we will continue with these trainings. I am also very well physically; I feel that I have a better balance than ever between my weight and my physical force. In the past I had to lose too much weight at the last moment or I my weight was good but I was too thin for my category of 66 kilos. But now that I am older, rather than becoming more difficult, I’m in better balance with my physical force and weight. I can train very easily with other Judo players of my weight. And, I no longer have the problem of my opponent having more strength than me. During the championships I received good guidance from Betto Thiel. One person who is definitely a great help to me in my preparations is Javier Wanga. I train every week with Javier. He is an excellent sparring partner and a good coach. Javier has helped me improve and amplify my techniques. This week I will be training in Barcelona together with the entire team from Holland. This will be the last stop before London. After this we will finalize the training phases in Holland."
"What will it be like for you to represent Aruba at the Olympic Games?"
Jayme: "For me it will be a dream come true to compete in the Olympic Games. And, I am very proud that I can do this representing the small island of Aruba. Every time Holland refers to their selection, they make mention of the fact that they are so small compared to the USA or Brazil, or Germany, etc. but that they are really good. For this reason whenever I have the opportunity to put the name of Aruba on the map, I make sure that everyone knows that I proudly represent a small island. Whenever we travel, and at all championships with Javier, we both make sure to take along training packs and T-shirts with the Aruba logo on them. We have received much sponsorship from Danny Verlaan (Manager for Spare Time). Danny always helps us with clothes printed in Aruba so we can promote Aruba abroad. Aruba is also on the website of one of the teams of the biggest Martial Arts in Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. This company has agreed to sponsor Javier and I with material prepared for the Olympic Games and they have agreed to publish these as a sponsor of Team Aruba."
"What can Aruba expect from Jayme Mata in the 2012 London Olympic Games?"
Jayme: "Aruba can expect me to do my utmost best and to perform at my highest level on July 29th and to put the name of Aruba in the spotlight! Once more, I want to show that no matter the small size of the island of Aruba, we can compete at very high levels with very big countries. I already have a large group from Holland who are very enthusiastic about me competing and they will stand with Aruba also on that day. At the end of the day, Aruba and I will look back with pride and satisfaction!"