Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Plans continue for new velodrome

Published:Tuesday | September 3, 2019 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Brandon Reid (right) and Oshane Williams involved in a head to head battle at the Jamaica Cycling Federation Development Meet One held at the National Stadium on Sunday, February 11, 2018.

Joylene Griffiths, president of the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF), said that there is still no word as to when a new velodrome will be built, following recent promises made by Sport Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.

Grange announced in May that the velodrome that is located inside the National Stadium would be removed and a new one constructed at another section of the Independence Park facility. The minister noted that this was part of the redevelopment plans for the National Stadium complex.

“We are in discussion to build a new velodrome, and we are pursuing it in a very aggressive manner,” Grange stated a few months ago. “As you know, we plan to take out the old one at the stadium now and build one at a separate location within the compound of Independence Park Limited.”

However, Griffiths told The Gleaner that her association is yet to receive any additional information regarding the building of a new velodrome.

“We don’t have anything official, and so we are still waiting to hear what is going on, but in the meantime, we are going on with our programmes,” said Griffiths.

School programmes hampered

“Not having a velodrome has hampered our school programmes, but we intend to introduce cycling in a number of our schools. We will have to do this on grass tracks with the mountain bikes, which most kids have anyway, because they don’t have road bikes,” she said.

Griffiths also pointed out that her association was in desperate need of a new velodrome because this would assist with the overall development of the sport of cycling in the island.

“It (the new velodrome) will enable us to host the Caribbean Championships because we have never hosted that before, but Jamaica has been able to host big events in sports, but cycling is one of those that we are not able to host,” said Griffiths. “It will make a big difference because we will be bringing in funds, and we will be bringing a lot of cyclists.”

When contacted yesterday, Grange indicated that the construction of a new velodrome was still in the planning stages and that the ministry’s consultants were still working on the plans.

“I can’t say much on it because I am going to have to check with my people to see where they are in terms of the planning process,” said Grange.

“The velodrome will have to be done in the context of the whole development of the National Stadium and that whole redevelopment process is ongoing, and, as you know, consultants were hired to develop a business plan and to come with designs and so on,” Grange added.

The outdated 500m cycle track that borders the running track inside the National Stadium, is set to be replaced by a more modern 250m velodrome.