BELIZE CITY—I was at a mechanic shop on Cemetery Road near midday on Saturday, when a relative sent me a text with the shocking news.
Because I had spent just over fifteen years in the wilderness, so to speak, of shrimp farming at Nova Ladyville, I had not been close to much of the action in sports during the period when, it is now clear, that Ernest “Jawmaine” Meighan rose to prominence and made his indelible mark on the Belizean cycling scene. He captured the coveted garland twice, in 1997 and 2001, and, like other Cross Country champions, his name will be forever etched in the folklore of our annual Cross Country tradition. It is said that, apart from long dominance in the Criterium races, he also won every other major cycling race in Belize, including the Krem New Year’s Classic.
I returned from my sporting exile to join Amandala in 2007, and so I saw Jawmaine when he was past his prime. But he still showed sparks of his former brilliance, and his name evoked respect everywhere in the cycling circles. In his most recent Cross Country outing earlier this year, Jawmaine, at 42, was, at the 42nd position, one of 42 riders to eclipse the 6-hour mark from a starting field of 110, only 63 of whom finished the journey. His finishing time was 5:56:58. But the flood of memories and praises flowing in from all quarters over the past couple days show that Jawmaine’s personality was as warm and captivating as his cycling skills were unparalleled at his peak.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends on the passing of a real sporting icon, Ernest “Jawmaine” Meighan. R.I.P.