Sun | Apr 2, 2023

Shorter races, ratings by bicycle weight for triathlon

Published:Wednesday | November 10, 2021 | 12:10 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Carl Sharpe, Jamaica Triathlon Association president.
Carl Sharpe, Jamaica Triathlon Association president.

THE JAMAICA Triathlon Association is designing a racing schedule intended to draw participants into the sport. According to new association president, Carl Sharpe, it will feature shorter races and categories rated by the weight of the bicycle used.

In the Olympics, athletes swim 1.5 kilometres, then cycle 40 kilometres, before ending with a 10,000-metre run.

“We plan to have shorter races as long as a long standard race, and we will also invite participants with any type of bicycle,” Sharpe promised, with newcomers and especially youngsters in mind.

“This thing is that we don’t want the prohibition of an expensive carbon frame bicycle to hinder people from addressing the sport. So what we can do, we can easily categorise bicycles by way of weight, right, so you’ll be comparing apples with apples in a race and not necessarily apples with oranges, as the case may be.”

Carbon frames can cost a pretty penny, with prices running from US$2,500 to US$10,000.

“It’s not a practice that I’m actually originating. It’s one that I actually see used in the US to encourage more people into triathlon and I figure if a wealthy country like the US could approach it like that, I don’t see why we in Jamaica, with much less per capita income, wouldn’t do such a thing,” Sharpe explained.

“That is our first approach to actually broaden the thing,” he added.

“So if you have a grandfather Raleigh bicycle that weighs 50 points, we will still accommodate you.”

The competition schedule will grow, Sharpe says, during his term in office.

“To really create good triathletes, you have to be competing regularly in order to know where you are, and the triathlon season runs from around February back to November, and we intend to have more meets and even the meets that we already have, which aren’t marketed very well, we intend to help the promoters to market them more to locals so that the interest will grow,” said the president, who was elected into office on October 31.

Sharpe’s administration will continue triathlon’s collaboration with the local swimming and cycling federations, but he believes that especially in swimming, Jamaica could use its existing resources more effectively.

“Unfortunately, Jamaica still sees competitive swimming as an elitist sport, which is ironic for an island,” he lamented.

Then he pinpointed the pool at the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, which has been unused since the institution opened in 1980.

“I think we have some resources that are underused, but in the sense that we have young boys in Spanish Town, for argument’s sake, jumping into canals to swim and learn to dive, yet we have an Olympic-sized swimming pool at GC Foster that has trees growing in it,” Sharpe itemised.

– HL