Minister of Sports, Youth and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, has congratulated cyclist Joshua Kelly for being the first Barbadian male to be signed to a pro domestic cycling team.
During an online press conference this morning, Minister Griffith, speaking from his Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael office, told Mr. Kelly that it is “always an absolute blessing” when one of Barbados’ athletes reaches the professional stage in any sport, adding that he hoped the next time the two communicated that it would be in relation to the Olympics.
Commenting about the love of cycling as a sport and recreation activity, he said: “My Ministry is eager to promote both activities as part of our development of sport, and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. In modern times, recreational cycling has become a cornerstone in our fitness campaign. It’s an excellent and fun activity for all groups and families, and therefore an asset in promoting our citizens well-being.”
Mr. Griffith disclosed that the Ministry, through the National Sports Council, has plans in place to assign a cycling coach “to promote cycling in our schools because we believe that if this is to be sustainable, if we are to have Josh replicated across the country, that we must be the ones to take control and be the Ministry to further push sports at the level”.
He also spoke of plans to have a space allocated for cycling. “Government is committed to constructing a new national stadium, and a velodrome will also be part of the process of that setup. We’re looking to do a standalone velodrome at St. Philip Bushy Park. I have seen plans already in place. We have submitted to Town and Country Planning and we are awaiting approval for that,” he said.
Mr. Kelly, stating that he turned professional to inspire other Barbadian cyclists, added: “I have a really strong brother in the sport. Kids like him, need inspiration. They need heroes in that sense and I love to be that ray of light for the younger generations, coming from an island where people only play cricket and athletics on the world stage. I really hope this opportunity inspires and motivates others not to give up.”
The cyclist, who started training in January this year, will be based in California and will compete on the United States Pro Circuit.