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Off track

BCU wants out of the National Stadium

French football legend Michel Platini found its presence at the National Stadium peculiar.

Now president of the Barbados Cycling Union, Keith Yearwood, is reiterating that the Waterford, St Michael facility is no place for a cycling velodrome and is urging Government to render assistance in finding a home for the sport in Barbados. He added that if cycling was to develop in the island it needed both government and corporate Barbados to get on the saddle.

Keith Yearwood

Barbados Cycling Union President Keith Yearwood

“We need a new cycling track. The velodrome at the National Stadium is not really suited for international cycling meetings. If we get a 250 metre track we can host several international meetings. I was overseas at a cycling meeting sometime ago and the president of the International Cycling Federation said to me Barbados has hosted the Cricket World Cup and it is time that we host an international cycling meeting,” Yearwood said.

He explained that with a 250 metre track, cycling could play a major role in the island’s sports tourism in several ways. Yearwood suggested that the plot of land located at Waterford, St Michael which was previously used by inmates of Her Majesty’s Prison at Glendairy to plant food crops was well suited for a new 250 metre track.

“Sports will remain at a standstill without proper facilities. The  government will have to invest money in sports facilities for the island to reap the rewards that sports can bring to the country. A lot of lip service is being paid to sports but what we need is help,” Yearwood stressed.

He stated  that Barbados’ sports tourism stood to gain massively from the building of a 250-metre track, stressing that along with international meets cycling clubs from North America and Europe could hold training camps on the island during their
winter period.

“Sports tourism is vital to Barbados’ economy and  cycling has a role to play. This country is blessed with sun all year and that will play a great part in luring cyclists and cycling clubs here during the winter but they will not come if the facilities are not right,” Yearwood said.

Yearwood also urged Government to remove all of the import duties on cycling equipment.

“Cycling is a great way for people to keep healthy and it is time that the Government remove all of the duty that is in place on cycling equipment. This sport plays a role in keeping our people fit and yet the powers that be seem to be unaware of the impact that the sport plays,” Yearwood said.

The cycling boss said cars emitted foul gasses which led to various illnesses, while cycling kept people fit and for that reason alone the Government should consider removing the tax on the equipment. He said several ministers of health had spoken about the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and the costs of caring for persons with such, He noted that cycling was one way of encouraging a healthy lifestyle and combatting against such diseases.

Yearwood said one of his plans this year was to seek scholarships for young cyclists at overseas universities. He is also hoping to establish a link with the High Performance Center at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill,  to have young riders use the facilities there.

“Cycling provides the opportunity for our riders to travel. If we can form an attachment with universities overseas this will take the sport to a new level . We will be providing our cyclists with the opportunity to enhance their education. A link with the High Performance Centre would improve our cyclists’ knowledge of their sport which will  make them better all-round persons. What we are trying to do is cater to the needs of our riders and to make them good citizens,” Yearwood said.

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