‘Help me please’ - Top cyclist wants to attend US college

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Jamaica's multiple national female road racing and time trials champion and 2016 Olympic hopeful Dahlia Palmer has been awarded a partial scholarship to attend American institution Brevard College in North Carolina starting in January.

Despite being wooed by several schools, the 20-year-old Green Island, Hanover native chose Brevard College, based in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, because of its strong cycling programme.

Before she can leave however, the 2011 silver medallist in the Caribbean Road Race championships, will need to find most, if not all of US$8,000 (approximately J$730,000) which would be her share of tuition for the next four years.

In an interview with Observer West last week, Palmer who just recently returned from representing Jamaica at the Caribbean Cycling Championships in Antigua where she had mechanical problems and finished a disappointing 10th overall, appealed for help. She said she was hoping someone, either in government or private sector, would assist her to get a college education even while pursuing her dreams of becoming an Olympic level cyclist.

“This is important for me,” she told Observer West, “this is a very good opportunity not just to improve my skills but also to get an education …”

Palmer, who played a variety of sports while attending Green Island High and admits to being a 'tom boy of sorts', said she had sent out letters to a variety of agencies but had not gotten any responses and was hoping to start classes on January 9.

She told the Observer West she plans to study sports management at college.

Phil Alloy, an American cycling enthusiast who has visited Jamaica many times, has also been trying to help her secure the funds and brought her plight to the Observer some weeks ago.

Palmer told Observer West she had a “plan B” in place, to go to Trinidad where there is a professional circuit but says she hopes she wont have to put that into action any time soon.

Palmer has won the national titles since 2010 — just three years after a family friend introduced her to the sport — and has represented Jamaica in regional meets.

PAUL A REID Observer West writer

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