JOA keeps cycling pedalling towards Tokyo 2020

Sunday, February 25, 2018

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The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has started to make good on its promise earlier this week to provide more financial support to its member associations when it made a $4-million injection to help the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) on Thursday.

Speaking at the ceremony of the cheque presentation at the office of the JOA at 8 Cunningham Avenue in Kingston, president of the JCF Joylene Griffiths was happy with the injection has she laid out the mission of her organisation.

“The Jamaica Cycling Federation is on a mission to rebuild the sport of cycling in Jamaica. Like all other sports, the need to resource the activities for development and competition has been a never- ending challenge,” she said.

“Internationally, we have been commended by the UCL, our international body, for our rebuilding plans as well as being one of the four countries in the world with a female president this year,” added Griffiths.

The JCF head outlined some of the things that her organisation has been doing since she took office last year.

“Locally we have started by meeting with the cycling clubs to share the vision, established a calendar of events and held one development meet this month with the next one set for March 11.

“We have visited one school, - Kingston College, and gained the support to introduce cycling to their sporting curriculum and many of the boys will join us for the second development meet at the National Stadium,” Griffiths outlined.

A prominent girl's school on the western side of the island has also been approached in an effort to get more youth, and in particular girls, involved in the sport.

She says that plans for the building of a new velodrome are well advanced, with talks being held with the minister of sport as recent as Wednesday about that and other matters related to the sport.

Another very significant achievement of Griffiths and her team was settling the federation's outstanding debt as the administration moves to “put their house in order”.

With the Commonwealth Games just over a month away, the JCF also took the time to announce the athlete they have selected to represent the country in Australia.

“We have selected our athlete for the Commonwealth Games in April in Australia (and he is) Oshane Williams, who hails from Montego Bay, St James. He is now in a training camp here in Kingston refining his skills in road and track racing and clocking in thousands of kilometres in preparation for this event,” Griffiths revealed.

National cycling coach Carlton Simmonds said preparations are being geared toward having Williams peak at the right time. The cyclist was the only Jamaican to satisfy the qualification standard.

“You have to qualify for the Commonwealth and CAC Games through the Pan American Track Championships and Caribbean Track Championships and the Caribbean Elite Road Race Championships for the road side of the programme.

“He will be participating in the scratch race on the track, points race on the track, and he will also be doing the road race,” said Simmonds.

The coach said getting the athlete near or to his best in a timely manner is a great balancing act.

“I am gauging his effort because I don't want him to peak too early, but he is about 75 per cent fit right now. I am trying to hold that peak because you don't want him to go into the event 'overpeaked',” Simmonds noted.

The CEO of the JOA Ryan Foster said that the contribution made to the cycling federation was all part of its new mission statement.

“One of the mandates of the Jamaica Olympic Association through it's “Pathway to Success” vision is to create a broader platform to enable our member associations to provide greater avenues for the development of their respective sports,” he said.

The funding received by the JCF wasn't a random contribution, but one earned by the federation after they satisfied certain requirements of the JOA.

“The JOA, through this partnership with the Jamaica Cycling Federation, solidifies this position and is the first step along the journey to having 10 sports in Tokyo 2020,” Foster said.

Foster also revealed that the funds were for Olympic preparations and not the Commonwealth Games.

“The sponsorship is valued at $4 million and will run for the period 2018/19. This is separate from our commitment to the JCF for sending cyclists to the Commonwealth Games and CAC Games. The $4-million contribution is geared towards Olympic development of the sport in Jamaica,” he explained.

An update was also given on Marloe Rodman, who was the island's leading cyclist until he was involved in a vehicular accident late last year.

“I want to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of Marloe Rodman who kept the pedals turning for several years and made a very commendable attempt to qualify for the last Olympics. Marloe is out of training and competition now due to an unfortunate accident, but the federation has been giving him support and we wish him well as he continues to recover and the very best for the future,” Griffiths stated.

The $4 million will be distributed in four payments of $1 million over a one-year period.

— Dwayne Richards

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