JUNIOR cyclist Devante Laurence has been selected to wear the national colours at the 2022 UCI Junior Track World Championship in Tel Aviv, Israel, carded for August 23-27.
Laurence, who received an injunction two weeks ago restraining the TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) from implementing any decision to select another cyclist, was notified of his selection a week later on July 31.
Days earlier, Justice Kevin Ramcharan, who issued the injunction on July 22, declared after a one-day trial that the TTCF erred when it determined it was not entitled to exercise its discretion under its race rules to determine if Laurence ought to be selected to be on the UCI Junior World Track Cycling Championships 2022 team. The judge gave the TTCF until July 28, to consider if Laurence should be a member of the team. He also discharged the injunction.
Laurence was notified of his selection on Sunday. An account has been activated on the fundraising platform, fundmetnt, to assist in offsetting costs for his trip. He is hoping to raise $59,000 to cover expenses. “A contribution towards Devante’s World Junior Championship dreams is a contribution towards national development. Invest in this talented and productive young man.” So far, $10,051 has been pledged with 19 days left.
Laurence and his club, Arima Wheelers Cycling Club took the TTCF to court over his non-selection to compete in the junior men’s flying 200 metres sprint keirin, although he clocked the fastest time at trials.
In his court filings, Laurence, 17, of Union Road, Diego Martin, and his club Arima Wheelers Cycling club contended the decision of the TTCF to select another male junior cyclist for the world championship and not use its discretionary powers was unfair.
Registration for the World Championship ended on July 31. Laurence said if he was not allowed to register, it would be detrimental to his career as a professional competitive track cyclist.
He also said if he missed the 2022 championships, he will never get to compete as a junior as he turns 18 in September.
President of the Arima Wheelers Club Joel Browne said he could not understand how the TTCF could use its discretional powers to select a male and female cyclist for the 2021 world juniors championship, neither of whom made the qualifying standards but were clocked as the fastest qualifying competitors.
Laurence’s application contends that the qualifying time for junior male flying 200m sprint keirin was adjusted in November, last year, from 10.850 to 10.800 seconds, but the qualifying time for females was not changed.
Laurence clocked 11.518 seconds at trials in June. He could not compete at the May 7 trials because of an injury and was allowed to the next month.
His club wrote to the TTCF requesting his selection to the team but was told it was not possible since he did not meet the qualifying standard required for selection for local and foreign competitions.
In correspondence to the club, the TTCF said there was “absolutely no bias” in the election of the representative for the junior men flying 200m, saying cyclists were selected based on qualifying times and it was only when they did not, that alternative selection methods are used,
Laurence’s lawsuit accused the TTCF of preferring to prevent TT from having a male junior competitor at the event rather than using its powers to select him.
“I have been working rigorously for the last four years to attend the 2021 and 2022 UCI World Juniors Track Championship.
“In 2021, I did not make the fastest time at trials, I placed second at the trials in 2021. I continued working hard and made the time fastest time in 2022 despite my injury…
“The 2022 UCI World Juniors Track Championship is my final chance to wear my national colours and represent TT as a junior.
“...All my hard work would have been wasted.”
Laurence and the club were represented by attorneys Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Amy Rajkumar, all of New City Chambers.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the world governing body of cycling recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).