Fri | Jun 18, 2021

Give minor sports a chance – Palmer

Published:Saturday | May 15, 2021 | 12:12 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Cycling Federation president Dr Wayne Palmer (right) leads the pack at a development meet at the National Stadium Velodrome on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
Jamaica Cycling Federation president Dr Wayne Palmer (right) leads the pack at a development meet at the National Stadium Velodrome on Sunday, February 11, 2018.

President of the Jamaica Cycling Federation, Dr Wayne Palmer, said as pleasing as it is for him to see sporting activities resuming locally, he does not think minor sports are being treated with the same level of importance as more popular sports.

The coronavirus pandemic brought domestic sports to a halt last March and only a few were allowed to resume activity for the remainder of 2020, including horse racing and athletics.

A spike in cases at the start of 2021 forced another lockdown of the local sports industry, however, in recent weeks, the Goverment has been granting approvals to a number of sporting bodies and competitions, with swimming, football (JFF training and Jamaica Premier League), karting and track and field all getting the green light.

However, Palmer argued that minor sports should be receiving equal attention.

“Just as how the larger sports are important to Jamaica, I think the smaller sports are equally as important and I think they should be given an opportunity to grow just like other sports and be given an opportunity to return in the best way we can,” said Palmer.

“We need preparation and competition to hone our skills and that is what we’re asking for and we just want to get our time,” said a frustrated Palmer, who revealed he has been seeking approval to use the National Stadium velodrome for training to prepare for the Pan American Elite Championships in Peru in June, which will serve as a qualifier for the Pan-American Games.

ACCESS TO START TRAINING

“I have just written a letter for access to start training because it is clear that the organisation of sporting activities can take place because other sports have been allowed to. Track and field is back at the stadium and there are over 1,000 athletes at Champs now, but how many athletes do you think I want to train? Just 30,” said Palmer.

“I only want the stadium to use for 10 at-a-time and we don’t think that request is unreasonable or impractical,” he commented.

He said his previous engagement with the government has not given him much reason for optimism. Nevertheless, he hopes their approval can come soon enough for them to begin preparation for their upcoming assignment.

“We need to have it now. We need to get a letter saying that we have approval or that we should come in and sit down and talk about our approval because it has been one year now that we have been sending in applications for our sport to get approval, so do you think I should be optimistic?

“The Pan American Elite championships in Peru is still on. The elite championship is a precedence as it gives the athletes the opportunity to qualify for the Pan American Games, so we need the velodrome to train for that because it is a track event,” he said.

“Champs will be finished this week ... we are hoping that we can get approval by next week. That would be the best situation for us,” Palmer said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com