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Big JOA boost for local cyclists

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has set its ‘Sport for All’ campaign’ into motion with a $2.6 million sponsorship to the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF).

‘Sport for All’ is designed to enhance the efforts of Jamaica’s sportsmen and women in all disciplines towards maximising their chances at qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

It mirrors the blueprint of Tokyo 2020’s ‘10 in 20’, which was geared at Jamaica’s participation in at least 10 sporting disciplines.

In the race to qualify for France, cycling has made an early move and the JOA provided a push-start by funding its elite track and road-cycling teams to participate in the PanAm Track Championships and the Caribbean and PanAm Road Championships.

“This investment of $2.6 million in cycling has laid the foundation for the launch of our ‘Sport for All’ campaign for the France 2024 Olympic Games,” said Ryan Foster, the JOA’s CEO/Secretary General.“Our campaign will be centred around a continued inclusive approach to incorporate an equal opportunity for all sports that have a chance to represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games in 2024.

“The development of these sporting disciplines is continuous and has to start somewhere, and we believe that the JOA has a critical role to play, along with our members,, to increase the representation,” Foster explained.“We will continue our expansive approach to sport governance and opportunities for all as our members, by virtue of their performance, have demonstrated to us that the dividends have already been reaped.”

In June, $1.6 million was spent to send the four-member team of Dahlia Palmer, Daniel Palmer, Brandon Reid and Zoe Boyd to the PanAm Track Championships, which took place from June 23-29 in Lima, Peru.

Results from the championships earned Jamaica a qualifying spot at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, in November.

The JOA also funded a 12-member team that participated in the Caribbean and PanAm Road Championships in the Dominican Republic from August 11-15. The team consisted of Under-23 male riders Brandon Baker, Alex Morgan, Andrew Ramsay, Stephen McCalla, and Kevan Pryce; Under-23 female rider Llori Sharpe; and elite males Mark Williams, Jermar Brissett, Jerome Forrest, Obrian Madourie, Russell Small, and Phillip McCatty.

Results from these championships also earned Jamaica another qualifying spot at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, which will be held later this year.

Donna-Kaye Sharpe, the JCF’s secretary, underscored the value of the JOA’s contribution.

“The membership of the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) appreciates the support from the Jamaica Olympic Association in developing cycling in Jamaica,” she said.

“Without this support, members of the national teams would not have been able to gain valuable UCI (International Cycling Union) points and improve, overall, the country’s ranking. We are pleased with the continued support from the JOA,” Sharpe pointed out.

In both instances, it was a first for Jamaica to have such a large delegation at any cycling games or championships.

The track cyclists were prepared by national track sprint coach Ricardo Lynch, and the road cyclists were prepared by national road coach Adrian Clarke.

Results from both championships improved Jamaica’s UCI ranking in all categories, including that of Dahlia Palmer, who is now ranked 67th on the women’s world list.

Foster said their investment is paying “dividends”.

“The JOA is extremely pleased with the development of cycling in Jamaica despite the challenges faced with a pandemic,” he said. “Our investments in cycling have already paid dividends with the qualification of athletes to the Junior PanAm Games and the improved world rankings of Dahlia Palmer.”

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