Bumpy ride ahead


Bumpy ride ahead

New cycling boss Palmer embraces challenge of rebuilding sport

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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As head of the new Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) administration Wayne Palmer says his tenure will be focused on moving the sport onward and upward, with the ultimate aim being to deliver on the high hopes for change.

The 48-year-old orthopedic surgeon, who was elected president at the JCF's annual general meeting (AGM) on Sunday, said his time at the helm has been long in coming, as he had been swaying numerous calls to take up the mantle.

Palmer, a former national representative, served as vice-president under Edward Harper and Kirk Finnikin's leadership, as well as general secretary in the Dennis Chung administration.

He will have Anthony Ebanks and Adrian Clarke as his first and second vice-presidents, respectively, while Janneille Morgan was elected treasurer and Donna-Kaye Sharpe will serve as secretary of the new board.

“I am an avid cyclist, I have raced locally and internationally and I am a past vice-president and general secretary of the cycling federation. The members have been asking me to represent them for some time and I have now answered that call,” Palmer told the Jamaica Observer.

Having paid his dues as a competitor and served in previous administrations, Palmer said he is well aware of what is required to move the sport forward.

However, he and his new administration will inherit a huge headache, as the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to burden sport, and by extension, sporting administrators and their vision for growth.

As such, Palmer, though optimistic about the path ahead, is aware that some of the plans and initiatives crafted by his team might have to be shelved for the foreseeable future.

“I have been involved in cycling as an athlete for over 30 years and I am also former National Masters champion, as I represented Jamaica in the Masters Track World Championships in 2018,” he shared.

“With that background and experience as an athlete, I intend to focus on improved communication, focus on youth and women, constitutional amendments and funding opportunities, among other things,” said Palmer, who is also a lecturer at The University of the West Indies (UWI).

That said, Palmer stressed the need for funding, which is the most vital component to reviving the sport and pointed out that he is already putting plans in place to solicit some financial support.

“I think it (cycling) is at a low right now especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. But I still think funding can be obtained and I will be setting up a committee to identify and acquire funding for the sport,” Palmer, noted, adding that the main goal for his tenure is the installation of an international standard cycling velodrome.

Meanwhile, Sharpe spoke glowingly about Palmer in endorsing his leadership.

“I know Dr Palmer has the requisite skills to lead the JCF. Being an avid cyclist himself gives him a good platform in understanding the real challenges experienced by cyclists and the fact that he is certainly not a stranger to cycling administration would have prepared him for this new role as president.

“He is also a mature person, who has already displayed an inclusive leadership style and we just want to play our part in helping him move the sport forward,” Sharpe reasoned.

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