One of Barbados’ outstanding cyclists, Edwin Sutherland, was confident of producing a gold medal performance at the 20th Caribbean Road Championship in Havana, Cuba, this year.
Unfortunately for Sutherland and many of Barbados’ cyclists, it appears that they will have to wait until next year for that opportunity to compete as the regional championship in October might be postponed because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Last year Sutherland finished 11th overall at the Caribbean Road Championship in Cuba. “Last year I could have won the race but I didn’t have specific nutrients the last time and I got worn down coming on to the end and cramped up. But if it takes place in Cuba again this year I could win because I would be better prepared and I’m familiar with the roads,” Sutherland said.
The 23-year-old who has been cycling for the last 12-years told Barbados TODAY during a telephone interview that he returned home in February from Canada because of COVID-19. However, all is not lost because over the past few months, Sutherland has had a chance to develop his career competing in Trinidad and Tobago before travelling to Canada last October.
After the cycling track at the National Stadium went out of commission in 2015, Sutherland and fellow national teammate Jamol Eastmond left Barbados to compete in Trinidad. Work has since been done to the local track which is now available and Sutherland said he was anxiously looking forward to speeding once again on familiar territory whenever the Stadium reopens.
In recent years Barbados has produced some good male cyclists such as Joshua and Jacob Kelly, Gregory Vanderpool, Jamol Eastmond, Phillip Clarke and Sutherland who has been right up there with them.
And Surherland’s track record speaks for itself as he captured silver and bronze at the 2017 Caribbean Track Championships. He also went on to claim bronze medals at the 2018 nationals time trial, the 2019 nationals time trial and road race, and was sixth at the last CAC championships.
Despite the COVID-19 situation, Sutherland is expected to depart Barbados in September for the Tobago International Cycling Classic.
Describing what it is like to compete outside of Barbados, Sutherland said it was always a thrill. “Competition overseas apart from our local racing is at its best. It is much harder. So when we travel I ask a lot of questions to some of the other athletes; how they prepare for events, how many miles we have to do per week, gym time and how to eat properly. So, we piece together pieces and put them together and go out there and do our best.”
Like so many other athletes that cry out for lack of funding, Sutherland is no different and stressed if he had the financial backing things would be great for his career. Sutherland currently has one main sponsor and that is the Barbados Port Authority.
Cycling in Barbados needs support in order to get it back to its pinnacle and in order to do that, Sutherland suggested that the BCU needs to get more younger people involved in the sport.
He also explained that with the cycling track back in use, it would also be great for the children to practise.
“We need more youth developers, we need more young ones in the sport. The sport doesn’t really have much at this point in time, but the kids and more support can help in terms of development,” he said.
During this time when everything is on pause because of COVID-19, Sutherland is riding every day to keep his body in shape.
“I just go out and ride at this point in time. Really don’t have a specific training schedule, so we just go out and ride. We have been told that there wouldn’t be any local competition for this year, so we just ride for fun and keep fit just in case something does come up,” he said.
Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.
Sign up and stay up to date with Barbados' FREE latest news.