Cycling Federation aims to increase female participation
Newly elected President of the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF), Wayne Palmer, says he has high hopes for the sport, and his administration is working towards taking cycling to the next level in Jamaica.
Palmer told The Gleaner that cycling should be a sport that is enjoyed by all, and the JCF will continue to promote more women participating in the sport competitively.
“As it relates to women, I think we have a disproportionately high number of males compared to females within the sport,” he said. “Our governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), is trying to shift the paradigm with women and cycling development. And as such, they have created different programmes, and have set aside funding for women in cycling; we are hoping to use some of that to develop women in the sport in Jamaica,” Palmer said.
“Again, it follows on the heels that our top cyclist at this time is a female cyclist, Dahlia Palmer, who is actually the closest cyclist that we have towards Olympic qualification.”
He said that it is important to actively enable and encourage the growth of cycling clubs in each of the parishes, in efforts to bring cyclists together.
“Cycling across Jamaica has often been divided, where cyclists from western Jamaica and Montego Bay, and so on, have felt left out because the federation is often situated in Kingston,” he said. “And as such, there are cyclists from the other areas other than the Corporate Area, and perhaps close vicinities, who feel left out of what is happening in cycling and getting to the highest level of the sport.
“What we want to do is create a structure of clubs all around the country, with equal representation on the federation board, to allow for developing cycling in each of the particular areas. And as such, have a uniform say towards the development of cycling. Where there were clubs before and they are not functional at this time, we hope to develop them, get in there and find out what is lacking, if it is funding, and try to resurrect those clubs and get them going.”
JCF Secretary Donna-Kaye Sharpe said that targeting junior athletes will also be key to the administration to gain potential Olympic prospects in the sport.
“The board was newly elected, and in a nutshell, the focus will be on youth development and actively recruiting youth to cycle, and youth meaning both male and female cyclists,” she said. “We’re hoping that we could start building from that and get competitive track and road cyclists from the youth programme.
“With COVID-19 in our midst, there is a lot of uncertainty with championships and what will happen for the remainder of the year locally, regionally and internationally. Certainly, we will be looking to the UCI and COPACI (Pan American Cycling Confederation) for guidance and the protocols that will take us into next year for any events that are expected to be staged.”
She said cyclists are currently in training, but they are not cycling competitively.
• President – Wayne Palmer
• First Vice-President – Anthony Ebanks
• Second Vice-President – Adrian Clarke
• Treasurer – Janielle Morgan
• Secretary – Donna-Kaye Sharpe