Mon | Dec 5, 2022

JCF president buoyed by cycling talent

Published:Friday | October 7, 2022 | 12:11 AMSharla Williams/Gleaner Writer
Dr Wayne Palmer competing at the Jamaica Cycling Federation’s development meet at the National Stadium on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
Dr Wayne Palmer competing at the Jamaica Cycling Federation’s development meet at the National Stadium on Sunday, February 11, 2018.

Cyclists are not among the most popular sports personalities locally, but Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) President Dr Wayne Palmer expects this to change very soon. Dr Palmer says the local talent pool in the sport has been improving, and they...

Cyclists are not among the most popular sports personalities locally, but Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) President Dr Wayne Palmer expects this to change very soon.

Dr Palmer says the local talent pool in the sport has been improving, and they have the potential to do well overseas.

“I think we have a good pool of talent, and we are looking to expand that pool. We are just starting to develop that talent again after the dislocations caused by COVID-19, but those that we have are really good. We are very pleased with the performances of the junior athletes,” Dr Palmer said.

“In the time trials, for example, where we can make comparisons with previous years, we found that the juniors were doing just as well and maybe even better than recent times so we do have a very promising set of juniors.”

Young cyclist Llori Sharpe has been doing well in Europe after becoming the first Jamaican to sign an international deal, and Palmer said if more local cyclists are given that platform, they can perform just as well and improve their skills.

“We have always had the talent and have a set of local cyclists that given the opportunity, can develop and perform well overseas. The key with performing well on the international scene is the exposure to consistent racing, training, and equipment and also the coaching dynamics that takes place in that sort of atmosphere,” he said.

While he said there were a number of youth cyclists to look out for, he highlighted Cajur Chue, a tenth-grader at the Herbert Morrison Technical High School.

“We have a youngster by the name of Cajur Chue, 15 years old, 16 this year, and he is one of our top cyclists … performing as well as the senior cyclists. He won the junior national time trial championship, and his time was faster than the older athletes. We think that is very good,” Dr Palmer said.

He also made mention of Chue’s top five placement at the Jamaica International Cycling Classic, hosted by High Velocity Club in Montego Bay from April 1-3, 2022.

“Cajur was one of the top riders. He finished in the top five … all the top riders for Jamaica were there, and we had riders from overseas as well. So he’s one of the talents, one for the future, so I think we can look forward to good things from him,” he said.

Despite the rise of these new talents, Dr Palmer said the effects of the pandemic still have a hold on the sport locally.

“The pandemic has reduced the access to sporting facilities and the usual support from individuals, groups, and companies and, therefore, has caused a reduction in the number of persons participating in competitions,” he said.

He added that although these effects have been lifted somewhat, some of the issues still linger.

“The pandemic started to dissipate, and competitions have started to return to normal, however, some of the issues still remain, for instance, the prolonged waiting time for athletes and officials to get visas to travel to competitions,” said Dr Palmer.

However, he said it is great to be able to host local competitions on a regular basis again.

“It is good for us to have the national championships back on the calendar. We did have the national championships last year and again this year, (but) this time, we separated the junior championships from the senior championships. We put it in the summer, where the juniors are on holidays,” the JCF president said.

The national senior championships was held in September.