THE issue of funding still remains the major challenge for the T&T Cycling Federation (TTCF) despite many record-breaking performances in the sport internationally and locally, Public Relations Officer Roxanne Ramnath has said.
Coming on the heels of a gold medal for the T&T sprint team of Njisane Phillip, Nicholas Paul and Keron Bramble, as well as bronze and silver medals for Paul at the Kilo metre Time Trial and Match Sprint events at the Pan American Elite Track Championship and Caribbean Championship in Mexico on the weekend, the riders have also earned valuable UCI points that qualified them to contest the UCI World Cups which will get going later this year and will run into next year.
From the World Cups, much needed points will also be given to riders to qualify for the World Championship, the last major qualifier for the Olympic Games.
Ramnath told Guardian Media Sports all these tournaments will be critical to the country’s major goal of qualifying cyclists for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“The country is on a high right now with the achievements of the riders and we are hoping to maintain this for the World Cups and World Championship, but money remains our biggest setback. We are hoping to secure a sponsor for the sport right now,” Ramnath explained.
The cycling federation, being led by Robert Farier is set to have a crucial meeting of the executives at the weekend at which time members will decide on the way forward for the sport financially and otherwise.
Ramnath said they have been attempting to secure a sponsor for the sport ahead of the Olympics but requests to corporate T&T have so far come up empty-handed. She promised, however, they will not quit as officials are now confident of Olympic qualification for many cyclists and also potential medals and trophies as well.
The TT cyclists have exceeded all expectations internationally claiming a bagful of precious medals at the recent Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia last month, and have shown continued dominance, particularly in the sprints at the Pan Am Championships.
“In addition to medals won, our cyclists have also broken records, such as Phillip in the sprint in Mexico, and have shown true determination to excel such as Paul who came back from a major crash in the match sprint to claim silver. So there are high hopes of qualification to the Olympics as well as medals,” Ramnath explained. (Reprinted form Trinidad Guardian)