By Marion V. Ali
As preparations are being finalised to lay one of Belize’s most accomplished cycling legends, Ernest “Jawmeighan” Meighan, to rest on Friday, plans are also very much in the mind of Minister of State in Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Santiago Castillo, to have one of Belize’s cycling races named after the two-time Cross-country champion.
Castillo told The Reporter this week that as soon as he is finished with the arrangements for Jawmeighan’s burial, he will meet with Dion Leslie, president of the Cycling Federation of Belize, to “see what can be worked out” with regards to attaching the cyclist’s name to one of the races.
Jawmeighan was a member of Castillo’s cycling team since 1997, shortly after Jawmeighan won his first cross country race, riding then for Belchi.
His second victory came in 2001 riding for Santino’s. In reflecting on the accomplishments and talents of Jawmeighan, Castillo said:
“I believe had JawMeighan been drafted by a professional team at 18, 19 years old, 20 the latest, he would have made it to the Tour de France.”
Castillo said Jawmeighan had unparalleled talent. “He was the whole package”, Castillo added. “He could climb hills, he could pace and he could sprint.”
Dion Leslie, president of the Cycling Federation, also weighed in this week on Jawmeighan’s untimely death: “You could not watch cycling and not be a fan of Jawmeighan…the way he carried himself on the bike and off the bike – a great human being through and through, not only to the cycling community but to the entire Belize City community…it’s rare to find people like Jawmeighan.”
Jawmeighan’s cycling career began in 1988 when he began to train along with the seasoned riders.
Even at that tender age, many of them have attested that a Belizean star was in the making and that one day Jawmeighan would make Belize proud. He is one of a few cyclists who can boast for having won every category of race that Belize has had. One of his peers said publicly this week that Jawmeighan was even revered in Quintana Roo, Mexico, where he won cycling races for Belize.