Maliek Byndloss crowned Jamaica National BMX championThursday, July 09, 2015
ORACABESSA, St Mary -- Bicycle motocross (BMX) star Maliek Byndloss was crowned the country's first national champion among elite riders at the inaugural Jamaica BMX National Championship held last Saturday.
The 20-year-old athlete was in top form as he sped around the Eden Park BMX Track in Oracabessa, St Mary. He was flanked by runner-up Sanchez Hubbard and third-placed Garnet Lopez, both local riders. The elite race saw eight riders competing for the national title.
"It was a good day," said Byndloss. "It was fun seeing all the children coming out to ride, they love this sport." The newly dubbed Jamaican national champion, who has been riding since he was six years old, will be representing Jamaica in the upcoming 17th Pan American Games set for Toronto, Canada, this weekend.
Finishing his 2013 season as the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) number six ranked junior rider in the world, Byndloss - whose parents are Jamaican, switched his riding allegiance from the United States to Jamaica. The Pan Am Games will be his first competition representing the country. Byndloss emphasised his commitment to riding for Jamaica, asserting that his roots are in Jamaica.
"I am planning to do my best at Pan Am," said the humble youngster. "I have been training every day."
Byndloss was an inspiration to the 31 young riders, aged seven to 18, who competed in the challenge categories for national champion titles in the various age ranges. The young riders showcased their mettle on the track, a number of whom were recently introduced to riding through the 'Two Wheels, One Love' school programme, funded in part by the Digicel Foundation.
"I feel proud," said 16-year old national champion Zeus Panther, while patting his chest. "Mi feel like mi deh pon top of the world."
The Jamaica BMX National Championships was staged by the Jamaican Cycling Federation and the Oracabessa Foundation in partnership with the Digicel Foundation. For Jonathan Gosse, executive director of the Oracabessa Foundation, the championship was a dream come true.
"We did it!" said Gosse. "We have really started something here for this championship; this is a very important milestone for the history of BMX in Jamaica."
The Eden BMX Track is the only BMX track in the English-speaking Caribbean. It received a boost from the Digicel Foundation last year when it was resurfaced to meet international standards.
National Championship titles were awarded to the following: Garnet Lopez Jr (seven years old); Andrew Headley (10 years old); Tyrese Duncan (11 years old); Tristan Morrison (12 years old); Tyrese Matthews (13 years old); O'Neil Johnson (14 years old); the only female champion Shelly-Ann Peccoo (14 years old); Nikaldo Campbell (15 years old); Zeus Panther (16 years old); and Travis Tyrell (18 years old). A Respect Jamaica 'Fair Play' award was also given to Jaheim Richardson for his outstanding display of sportsmanship throughout the competition.