Cycling Federation plans youth programme
Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) President Dr Wayne Palmer says he intends to make youth the foundation of his administration’s new development strategy.
Palmer, who came to office in September, said that the association is establishing a new junior programme, which will be led by Arlington Reid. He said the programme, which has already started in some parts of the island, aims to recruit youngsters 18 and under and aid in their matriculation into world-class cyclists.
“Our aim is to grow the sport of cycling, and that is to build the sport from the grass roots. I appointed a youth coordinator in Arlington Reid, and his job is to identify persons in all parishes, be mentor for youngsters and develop them in the sports, and through that, we feel we can develop the cyclists,” he said.
“We feel that if we are able to have a large volume of youngsters, then out of that, we will be able to find talent to take us to the highest level. We believe we have the talent here, and it is just to unearth it. So we are setting an atmosphere where the talent can be unearthed.”
To achieve the results the JCF has envisioned, Palmer says that organising events just for juniors will be key.
“It (the programme) has just started, but we are limited by the COVID-19,” he said. “It is well established in Portmore and Montego Bay, and we are extending it to Spanish Town, and we are looking to go into Mandeville and Portland.
“We are going to have a number of junior- and kiddies-specific competitions come next year when racing restarts. We are looking to have a large number of junior cyclists, youngsters who will develop and matriculate into elite athletes that will give us medals when we go away.
“There is no sport that will grow and develop without junior athletes. There is no athlete too young, as long as they can ride a bicycle. So we want to go further and have a kiddies programme, where we can have five- and six-year-old as that is where we are going to matriculate and develop from. So by the time they reach 18, they will be looking to go to the Olympics.”