‘Build a cycling culture’ - Australian coach: Jamaica can be awesome in cycling
International cycling coach, Australian Donna Rae-Szalinski, says that Jamaica must look to build a cycling culture if the country wants to become successful in the sport.
Rae-Szalinski, who is currently in the island conducting a number of clinics with several local coaches, told The Gleaner after her lecture at the University of Technology yesterday, that Jamaica has all the requirements to become a cycling powerhouse but the country must look to develop the sport from the grassroot level.
“The first thing Jamaica needs to do is to build a cycling population because to have competition, you need other people to compete with and so you need to build an environment here in Jamaica where people want to race a bike and to have some fun and so see what is involved in that. Then you will see the people who are the winners,” said Rae-Szalinski, who has been a cycling coach for more than 25 years.
HIGH HOPES FOR JA
“If you look at the number of successful track-and-field athletes Jamaica has, the physiological demands can be transferred to cycling and so I think Jamaica can be awesome in cycling,” Rae-Szalinski, a coach with Cycling Australia, an Olympian and Tour De France rider, said.
She added that her lecture series has been well received by the participants and she is now very hopeful that the country will gain a lot of benefit from this.
“The area that I have been working on is how you teach the skill of cycling to beginners and adults,” Rae-Szalinski said. “We have run three days of workshops so that people will now break down the various skills of cycling in the right order and teach it to people so that they can take up cycling,” she said.
Carlton Simmonds, coach of the Jamaica Cycling Federation and national youth development coordinator, said that Rae-Szalinski’s presentation will have great impact on the development of cycling in the Jamaica.
“For me, having Donna here to carry out the coaching programme will help to enhance cycling locally and so I am happy that she came to do a presentation here,” said Simmonds.
“This programme will be great for our coaches because the wealth of knowledge that she has, it can impact the sport in Jamaica going forward,” Simmonds said.