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By Khaila Gentle BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 9,...

Kaya Cattouse, Belize’s first female pro cyclist

SportsKaya Cattouse, Belize’s first female pro cyclist

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Dec. 9, 2021– At a press conference on Tuesday of this week at the National Sports Council conference room at the Marion Jones Sports Complex in Belize City, aspiring Olympian and one of the most decorated Belizean female cyclists in the modern era, Kaya Cattouse announced that she had achieved one of her two sporting life dreams; she is now officially a professional cyclist, having signed a one-year pro contract with LA Sweat, now in its 8th consecutive season as a US professional cycling team. “They currently have an 8-woman roster with cyclists from different US states, Mexico, Canada and now Belize,” explained Kaya. Her other yet to be achieved goal, is to represent her country at the Olympics.

Asked how this pro contract would impact her current posts as Belize City Councillor and Sports Coordinator at the National Sports Council, Kaya offered that it should add, rather than subtract from her effectiveness in those posts, as her efforts are all in the realm of sports and youths, and her residence in Belize will not change by her pro status in cycling. It was based on her performances and exposure during three years of participation in cycling races in the US (2018, 2019 & 2021) that convinced the LA Sweat owners that she was already a good fit for their team. Kaya says she has the support of Mayor Bernard Wagner and the Belize City Council, as well as the National Sports Council, whose Deputy Director, Marvin Ottley was one of her presenters at the press conference, along with veteran cyclist and aspiring Cycling Federation president, Tariq Cano. She will only need a few days’ time-off when called up for race events in the US, where all their pro races will be criterium style of at most 70 minutes duration. Her participation, revealed Kaya, would put her in an even better position to source opportunities for scholarship and training abroad for young Belizean cyclists. And on the local scene, the annual youth cycling events that her C-Ray Cycling Club has spearheaded will continue, as “I am only the face of the C-Ray Club which has a number of family members and friends who come together to make the events all possible.”

In terms of the dollar value of her cycling pro status, Kaya explained that there are opportunities for greater remuneration out there, but her present contract is no big bonanza. However, it is a huge step forward because, while previously she would have to be doing barbeques and other fundraising activities to meet the cost of her trip expenses abroad to compete, this contract now covers all her expenses, including travelling and accommodation when she is called up for a race event. And her only cash earnings will be determined by her share (1/8) of the team’s winnings in the events they participate in.

Kaya Cattouse has been a trailblazing young woman in Belizean cycling for some time, having won all the major races, Cross Country (3x), Krem New Year’s Classic (2x), and other smaller races; and she also earned a Silver medal at the 2021 Caribbean Cycling Championships this past August in Santo Domingo. She has even tried her hand at football, winning national female football championships with Triple B’s of Belmopan. Fearless and outspoken, Kaya has been a shining light for sports lovers in Belize; and her natural talent and drive for excellence is splendidly matched by a selfless and inspired vision of hope and opportunity for achievement by Belizean youths and females in particular.

From this sports desk and on behalf of Kremandala and Belizeans everywhere, we say, congrats on this great achievement, Kaya! May you continue to find success in achieving your goals, and may your commitment and dedication continue to inspire Belizean youths to persevere in making their goals a reality also.

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