The economic cost to T&T of non-communicable diseases such as cancers, diabetes and hypertension is $8.7 billion annually, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says.
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Mountain bike, BMX to breed new cycling stars
The Cycling Federation of T&T is seeking to churn out new champions in the sport, but not in the obvious disciplines says Federation president Rowena Williams.
Citing that track and road cycling athletes had successfully medalled for this country, the national sporting organisation was now looking to mountain bike and BMX athletes to add to this country’s decorated reputation in the sport both regionally and internationally.
She said it was part of a deliberate strategy by her executive to build capacity in the fields of mountain and BMX riding.
To achieve this, she said, the Federation was now seeking corporate partners to facilitate the hosting of coaching courses.
Last year, said Williams, the national sporting organisation certified 22 level two coaches in the fields of track and road cycling.
The Federation believed the time had come for mountain bike and BMX athletes to benefit from quality coaching, too.
“We want to do coaching courses this year specifically for mountain bikes and BMX. We did level one and level two track and road (cycling). We have always been concentrating on track and road because that is where we have medalled for T&T. If we have to build the mountain bikes and build the other aspects of cycling, we have to get coaches and we have to get capacity going,” Williams said.
The Cycling Federation was encouraged by the spike in female participation in its two mountain bikes events held so far this year.
New interest for this aspect of cycling was coming from triathletes, she said.
“Mountain biking is very popular. There are so many mountain bikers out there, but they do it casually. So we now want them to come under the umbrella of the Cycling Federation and do more for T&T.
“But we will encourage them and build, because we need to build the women in sport,” she said.
Williams expressed concern about the paucity of certified female coaches in the country, too.
She said there were only four women at this level and intimated that the Federation would embark on a marketing and development campaign to churn out more certified female coaches.
This development thrust by the Cycling Federation was one of the key factors that led to the NSO earning the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Memorial Award for leadership excellence for the second consecutive year at the 2013 First Citizens Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony.
“I am very proud of my team. It’s a hard working team. I thank them all for all their support. I know that we would continue to strive for betterment and we hope that other sporting organisations would just follow suit and make sport a better place for T&T. We have a lot of the juveniles coming into the juniors category and we really want to groom them and get them to that level,” she said.
Williams added, “We are dedicated to looking at the young athletes, even the young developers–the BMXers. We really want to encourage them. They are coming up the ranks and doing just as Njisane (Phillip) is. I know we have a lot of talent out there in cycling. We can’t do anything better than we are doing now. The most we can do is seek the sponsors to assist in developing the sport as we go forward and look forward to our athletes doing well. We are going to the Commonwealth Games. I know we have a lot of athletes vying for that. We would really have a good showing out there.”
Williams said focusing on development was the only way of the nation’s emerging and accomplished cyclist could catapult the sport back into the national psyche alongside track and field and football.
“We have to get all the clubs looking forward to grooming young cyclists and going out there and marketing; marketing is key for us staying on top especially going into the schools getting the children aware of what cycling is about. We know it’s a very expensive sport. I know the Ministry (of Sport) and the Sport Company (of T&T), our stakeholders, would look forward to supporting them in some way. So we encourage the parents, schools, principals, everybody to see the sport as one that can make a difference in the country especially where crime is concerned,” she said.