THE cycling fraternity in Guyana was plunged into mourning following the death of former National cyclist Wilbert Benjamin who passed away at the Georgetown Public Hospital yesterday morning.
The 49-year-old Benjamin, who hails from Fyrish, Corentyne, Berbice and is also a Canadian citizen, reportedly suffered head injuries in a vehicular accident sometime in August while undergoing routine fitness training on the Corentyne Highway.
The late ‘fitness fanatic’, who owns Benjamin Sports, Sales & Services in Toronto and Benjamin Sports at Fyrish, was reportedly left unconscious after being hit by a hire car during one of his training sessions.
According to a report, published by Guyana Cycling News, Benjamin was admitted to the Anamayah Memorial Hospital where he regained consciousness and was advised that his condition had improved.
The report quoted his elder brother Gary Benjamin that after Wilbert was discharged from the hospital, he began complaining of constant headaches and a subsequent scan revealed he was suffering from internal brain damage and a cracked skull.
The late Benjamin reportedly fell into a coma on Sunday and efforts were made to transfer him to St Joseph Mercy Hospital to undergo possible surgery. When that failed, allegedly because of the absence of a surgeon, he was transferred to the Public Hospital Georgetown where died.
Benjamin left Guyana in 1992 but still maintained his love for the sport which had become part and parcel of his family. His father, elder brother and uncle were all cyclists of some stature so it wasn’t by coincidence he quickly got initiated into the sport.
After spending five years in Montserrat, Benjamin migrated to Toronto, Canada in 1998.
During his stint at the senior level, Benjamin represented Guyana at the Pan American and Texaco Games in the early 90s.
A former staunch member of the Flying Ace Cycle Club (FACC), Benjamin had been a consistent contributor, both financially and otherwise, assisting several up-and-coming young cyclists in the process and also to villagers in the community. Over the years, Benjamin has been providing uniforms to the FACC which has been in existence for more than 30 years.
Benjamin told Chronicle Sport in 2016 that his aim was to assist not only cyclists and the people of Berbice but also all of Guyana, more so the persons who helped him along the way. He also wanted the young cyclists to have all the latest equipment available at reasonable cost.