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Sports minister pushes pedal for track cycling
Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has made a commitment to assist the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) which has embarked on a new thrust to revive track cycling in the island.
"The Ministry of Sports is committed to working with the federation to realise its dream to take track cycling in Jamaica to the highest level," said Grange.
She noted that track cycling does have crowd appeal and said she was pleased with the federation's all-out campaign to resuscitate track cycling and the effort to involve schools.
Cycling Federation President Vaughn Phang and other members of his team visited the sports minister at her office last Wednesday and presented her with a list of initiatives to move track cycling forward.
Crucial to Jamaica's success
He said: "Track cycling is crucial to Jamaica's continued success in the international arena and is essential in building Jamaica's credibility as a host for international cycling meets."
Phang noted that the federation seeks to attract young people to track cycling and had established eight riding clubs in different parishes and was less expensive than road cycling, easier to administer, easier to coach and easier to manage, especially in terms of safety.
To strengthen their case, Phang pointed out that Jamaica had a strong legacy in the sport, with the likes of Olympic bronze medal winner David Weller and sensational rider Ricardo Lynch, whom he described as the best sprint rider in the Americas.
The next Olympian
"Now we need to identify the next Olympian ... and we will with the new effort that we plan to put into track cycling," added Phang.
Grange promised that she would immediately be seeking space for the federation to set up permanent headquarters and, in addition, "... the Sports Development Foundation will provide financial assistance outside of the regular subvention that it gives to the federation".
"The ministry will also be assisting the federation to acquire the track bicycles, helmets and other equipment required by the programme," she said, adding that cycling could also benefit from being incorporated into events by other organisations in a collaborative way.
"For example, I am thinking of cycling being included in the Grand Gala as was done with car racing and motorcycle racing last year," said Grange.