Former national cyclist and road champion Roger Smart has died.Smart, who was attached to Madonna Wheelers Cycling Club, reportedly succumbed to injuries he sustained in a vehicular accident on Friday on Ariapita Avenue, in Woodbrook in the vicinity of Petra Street.Known as being a staunch advocate for youth development in the sport, Smart peddled at the National Track Championships held earlier this year, staged by the T&T Cycling Federation and emerged the victor in the Masters 45-49 category. At the end of the tournament Smart took home three medals.
Rowena Williams, president of the T&T Cycling Federation described him as always being a friend of the fraternity. "He was a really quiet person who always liked to help the youth. He always wanted to see them at their best. He was a top mechanic that would tour with the team. He would encourage them. When Njisane (Phillip) won gold at the Pan American Games, he was there," she said.Former national cyclist Gene Samuel said Smart epitomised the ideals of a true sportsman and declared that he would always remembered him for his smile. The death of Smart�his friend�he said would leave many voids in the fraternity citing that the late athlete was simply a great human being, whether he was making time to help others, his ability as a mechanic or the easy going environment he helped to cultivate with athletes travelled for competition at all levels.
"Every team was happy with him on international trips. This is unbelievable. And the way he left us. I used to see Roger every week. Maybe a couple times a week. He would pass in the shop. Roger was a cycling fanatic. I met Roger when he first started cycling as a teen and he turned out to be one of the best road cyclists. We remember him as the 'mountain goat'. He proved himself. Certain people went into his category figuring they could beat him. He lick them up! He was one of the main captains of those rides around the (Queen's Park) Savannah every Monday and Wednesday," he said.Samuel added, "We were good sportsmen to each other. Win, lose or draw we always enjoyed giving each other picong. A lot of people don't know what it is to be a true sportsman. That is something we talked about a lot. There is a lot of envy and jealousy and if they can't win, there is a lot of sourness. A lot of us reflect regularly how things have change, so disappointingly."