Cyclists likely to miss Junior Pan Am Champs
The 2021 Junior Pan American Cycling (track) Championships is set to take place in Mexico from May 31 to June 6, but Jamaica is almost certain to miss out on the event, as they are still to be granted approval to host their national trials, which would determine qualification for the event.
However, despite harbouring fears that it might already be too late, President of the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF), Dr Wayne Palmer, has not entirely given up on attending the event, as he believes the association is on the verge of getting the Government’s approval for the sport’s resumption.
“Unless we get full access to training facilities and the opportunity to train our guys right now, it wouldn’t make sense, and at this point we would be sending a fairly weakened team,” Palmer said. “The only thing is that everybody has the same problem; there are quite a lot of countries like Trinidad that have closed it (sport) down because of increased (COVID-19) numbers, but we would be sending a very weak team.”
He pointed out that there would also be challenges regarding travelling and vaccination of the youngsters, and they would have to reassure families and parents, with this being a junior competition.
“Getting the youngsters for travel and getting vaccination for athletes is still up for discussion. So I do not think it (participation) is highly likely, based on my experience in the last two months,” he said.
Nevertheless, he revealed that the sport is close to returning, as he has received word that the local authorities will be giving then the go-ahead shortly.
“We have been told that we are to get approval, but we haven’t had anything in writing. So I think it is imminent, but we do not have it in black-and-white as yet,” Palmer stated.
When The Gleaner spoke with Palmer at the start of the year, he was also then expecting approval soon, and had planned to host the Pan Am Junior Trials by February.
However, he said some of the requests made by the Government officials were impractical and irrelevant.
“The Ministry of Sport requested additional information. The things we are being asked for and requested to do are just not practical; for example, they want to see our bathroom facilities, and we have none.
“They are asking for the National Stadium, which is run by IPL (Independence Park Limited), and we do not have control over that,” he reasoned.
But despite the two months’ setback, Palmer believes approval will give them the opportunity to get the sport back on track.
“We are looking and waiting and trying to get audience to try get cycling back the way it should, but, in the meantime, we cannot prepare for events that will allow us to qualify for various meets. If we do not do regional competitions, we will not be able to qualify for events such as the Commonwealth Games next year and the Pan Am Games in 2023.
“All of these games give us points towards qualification for the Olympics, where we want to be in the long run. So the long-term development is also at risk,” Palmer said.