President of Guyana David Granger says that his government is willing to consider the erection of an international cycling facility at Durban Park and will be making a decision shortly.
President Granger was at the time responding to a letter sent by former national cycling champion Neville Hunte over the possibility of staging a cycling venue at D’Urban Park.
“I have noted your request for consideration to be given to include an international sanctioned cycling velodrome in the recreational facility at D’Urban Park, Hadfield Street, Lodge, Georgetown,” the president wrote.
“I have forwarded a copy of your letter to the Minister of Education, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, for consideration. The Minister will contact you on the decision taken,” he added.
The idea for a cycling facility came from a number of cycling stalwarts including Hunte, Victor Rutherford, Aubrey Bryce, and Lloyd Conway among others who sent out letters to not only President Granger but the Minister of Sport, the Director of Sport, the Guyana Cycling federation (GCF) and the Guyana Olympic Association.
In the Caribbean, Guyana is one of the few countries without a cycling track.
Trinidad, Suriname, Barbados and Jamaica all have cycling stadiums, they argue.
Hunte told Stabroek Sports that he, personally, had reached out to various government officials advocating for a cycle velodrome here.
“It has been over 40 years since we have been having discussions about a velodrome,” he wrote.
Hunte said the issue of a cycling velodrome is “profoundly dear to me since I was competing for Guyana and, I believe, more than ever to the current cyclists in our beloved country.
“The cyclists, in my day, had shown that they can compete with the best cyclists in the world and win. But the current technology with regard to racing and training facilities, equipment, and coaching have moved way beyond what the cyclists in Guyana need today to compete at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and even the Central American and Caribbean games at a respectable level,” says Hunte.
He pointed out that Trinidad in February of this year, commissioned a new Olympic standard cycling velodrome.
Also pushing for the erection of a velodrome is Aubrey Bryce, a Guyanese who now lives in Toronto.
Bryce is the owner of Le Cycletique Indoor Multi-Sport Studio
Enduro Training Systems Incorporation in Canada.
In a letter to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Bryce, who in the past represented Guyana on a number of occasions, laid out a strong case for a cycling velodrome. He had been contracted a few years ago by the International Olympic Association along with the Guyana Olympic Association and the Guyana Cycling Federation to conduct a Training and Certification Programme in Georgetown for Advanced level cycling coaches.
“It is my understanding that our new government is contemplating the construction of a progressive multi-facility sports complex at Durban Park. I am certain that a major attribute of the mission of such an
undertaking will be based in serving a wider and more diverse segment of the youth of our nation. As such, I am advocating that a cycling velodrome be included for consideration as an integral part of the proposed multi-facility sports complex,” Bryce in his letter to Harmon stated.
Bryce says participation in cycling allows for the development of personal self-empowerment, attributes which serve as the foundation of strong moral codes which assists when facing academic, social or other challenges.
“At its very core, character values such are perseverance, dedication, application, determination, courage, resilience, selflessness, generosity, are inherent in the process of training and competing,” says Bryce.
Bryce said such values transcend sport itself and allows one to develop the skill sets towards making significant human contributions in the communities.
“Individuals like Neville Hunte, Eon D’ornellas, Dennis Medford, Michael Rogers, Ray Lee-Own, Aubrey Gordon, and Bruce Camacho among others, have developed into strong, well-meaning and contributing human beings. We all have one thing in common – track cycling,” said Bryce.
“I submit, that building a facility in one place such as is being considered for the sports complex at D’Urban Park, can foster such a culture on a much grander scale than is being experienced today in Guyana.
“A cycle-specific velodrome will obviously create a citadel of excellence that can only attract, develop and retain an exponentially larger pool of participants, all of whom will have developed strong character traits that will allow them to serve their country in one great capacity or another, more effectively,” Bryce wrote.
Also weighing on the support for a cycling velodrome was another cycling great Rutherford.
According to Rutherford, Guyana needs a velodrome at this juncture of its sporting history.
“We are saying that there must be a velodrome. Durban Park is centrally located. I know that the plans have not been finalized as yet. They have already decided on the first phase but the second phase I not so sure,” he told Stabroek Sport recently.
According to Rutherford success in cycling can come either from on the track or on the road.
“I don’t think we can make it on the road. We don’t have the hills here. In order to make it on the road, the cyclists will have to go to Europe to train and compete,” he explained.
Rutherford pointed out that Caribbean cyclists enjoy success in the shorter sprint events such as David Weller, Roger Gibbons and at the moment the Alexander brothers of Trinidad and Tobago.
“The thing about road racing it’s a team sport not an individual effort, said Rutherford. For a Guyanese cyclist, they will not get anywhere. Individuals racing against teams, on the whole I don’t think the money is there to support team racing,” he declared.