Private: Cycling President Pushing For New Velodrome
President of the Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF), Joylene Griffiths Irving, said a new home for cycling would rekindle excitement and interest in the sport locally.
Plans to build a new velodrome were being discussed between the previous Kirk Finnikin-led administration and Independence Park Limited. That administration wanted a new world-class facility by the end of 2017. But Finnikin resigned in May and the leadership was handed over by an interim president, Dennis Chung.
"We can’t train without the velodrome. The previous administration started it and we are going to end it, so I am pushing for that. It would be a big achievement if we could get that in the next two years,’ she said.
However, since Finnikin’s resignation, plans for the velodrome became dormant, but new president Joylene Griffiths Irving reignited that flame and has vowed to finish what the previous administration started.
“We can’t train without the velodrome. The previous administration started it and we are going to end it, so I am pushing for that. It would be a big achievement if we could get that in the next two years,’ she said.
“You talk about building back the excitement into cycling, that would (new velodrome) be a lot of excitement. Building it would give a lot of media attention, and that would make others want to come out and ride. I think it would give cycling the boost we need, so it makes sense we push for it,” she said.
“We are pressing (for it), and we just need to know where (it will be located) and the time schedule (for it to start). The government would be providing the funds, and our job is to push.
The Olympic association wants to include several more sports going into the Olympics and cycling has a history, and we feel that that history is enough for us to push for it,” she insisted Independence Park Limited will remove the old velodrome within the next two years, but Griffith-Irving wants the new modern one completed and accessible before the one inside the stadium is demolished.
“We would love the new velodrome in before they take this one out. We need our riders to be in training for 2020 and beyond. This velodrome is old with lots of cracks and needs constant repairing. I don’t think it really makes sense to keep repairing it, it makes sense to just put the new one in place.
“The federation will be notified by Independence Park Limited that it (velodrome) will go in another two years, and we are in discussion with them about identifying where they are going to replace it. We are going for a more modern velodrome which is smaller. We have presented to them costing and drawings from a company out of Germany. So we are now waiting for them to tell us what is the next step,” she said.