Funding Shortfall Knocks BVI Out Of Cycling World Championships


Darel Christopher Jr. doing indoor training in preparation for Worlds

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Cyclists Darel Christopher Jr. and Phillippe Leroy, will not compete in the UCI Cycling World Championships in England that that wraps on up Sunday. Both Christopher Jr. and Leroy were to compete in Wednesday’s Time Trial.

“We don’t have the funds. I received $5,000 from the BVI Olympic Committee and at the time, I told them this event would cost us over $12,000, in order to attend with two cyclists, providing all that they would need for support—coaches, mechanics, therapist and the supporting casting on the ground,” explained BVI Cycling Federation president Darel Christopher Sr. “We’re coming up against the pound and when you include the necessary things we had to spend money on—car rental and accommodations and everything needed—we didn’t have it.”

According to Christopher, in April, they competed in the Pan Am Championships in Mexico and $6,000 spent was promised after writing to the Premier’s Office and copied to the Sports Minister—funds they never received. He said that leading to Worlds, he didn’t send a follow up letter to the one in April but communicated via Whatsapp with the Premier’s Office but got no follow up and he got no answers up to a week before departure.

Had the $6,000 he said was promised after the Mexico trip was received, it would have been applied to Worlds.

Sports Minister Dr. Natalio “Showande” Wheatley when contacted said he’d have to follow up as he didn’t make any promises. 

In preparations for Worlds, Christopher Jr. spent four months in Colombia and Christopher Sr. said a coach was paid for three months to help with is final preparations. Additionally, a $6,000 bicycle was purchased as well as other needed equipment. 

Christopher Sr. said they’re disappointed not being able to attend Worlds. 

“A lot of funding has been put into this because these things happen over a period of time, one has to prepare for months even years in advance to get to the point you want to get to leading into any major event,” he noted. “You can imagine how both of them feel.”

The BVICF President said that his organization was to also have collected an award during the UCI Congress, based on their activities, where they moved from Category 4 to Category 3.