Jamaican Nathaniel Bailey was selected to receive a special scholarship from the International Surfing Association (ISA). He was among the 28 students – 16 males and 12 females – from countries around the world to be awarded an ISA scholarship. Bailey will receive part of the US$20,000 scholarship for his education and surf training. Bailey represented Jamaica at the World Para Surfing Championships in both 2021 and 2022. He was the first competitor from Jamaica to participate in the ISA World Para-Surfing Championship at Pismo Beach in California. Bailey is a Jamaica College student.
Inilek Wilmot, the president of the ISA, is extremely glad to see para surfing get more recognition as a sport. It is a new sport for Jamaicans, Wilmot noted, so the selection of Bailey for an ISA scholarship is very significant. It will allow the young para surfer to access specialized equipment and training, which in turn will help him improve his performance in the sport.
Fernando Aguerre, president of the ISA, launched the scholarship program in 2007, and since that time, more than US388,500 in grants have gone toward improving the lives and benefitting the surfing careers of almost 400 surf athletes. Aguerre said that the time of year the ISA gives out its annual scholarships is one of his favorite times and that there is nothing that makes him happier that being able to provide surfers from around the world with opportunities. He added that in the 15 years of the scholarship program, he has seen the recipients attain incredible achievements as their careers in surfing evolve. Several have become elite, competitive surfers and won medals in senior ISA events, including Peru’s Daniela Rosas, Carlos Munoz of Costa Rica, and Chelsea Tuach of Barbados.
Aguerre believes that the future of para surfing is bright and that the young surfers will continue to inspire others along the way as more “scholarship ambassadors” reach their goals in spite of any challenges they may face. He said he expects to see many of the recipients represent their countries at the Olympics or Paralympic Games in the near future.
Photo – ISA
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