Cycling is not popular as a competitive sport among township children. However, one boy hopes to change this after being selected to be part of the South African National Junior Track Squad participating in the Junior World Track Championships. The competition is taking place in Invercargill, New Zealand in August this year.
A grade 12 learner from Senaoane Secondary School in Soweto, Thulasizwe Mxenge, 18, says he wants to see more children of all races participating in the sport. "This kind of sport is not popular in the township and considered to be a white people's sport. I am proud to be one of the people to debunk this myth."
Love for cycling
"I used to see a guy here in the township cycling, that was when my love for cycling started and I told myself that I would do it one day. In 2009, a friend took me to join Medscheme Development Team," he says.
"We practise every day except for Mondays as it is our day to relax. It is going to be difficult this year, since I am in matric an have to make time for my studies," Mxenge said.
Mxenge and four other talented youngsters from Gauteng are part of the team of 19 cyclists from all provinces that will be taking part in the Track Training Camps during the course of 2012 en route the Junior World Track Championships in New Zealand.
Track training camps
Another cyclist, Jac Steyn (17) says that he was attracted to mountain biking at first but got into cycling three years ago.
He shares the same concern as Mxenge about going on camps and missing out on some of his school work as he, too, is in Grade 12. "Cycling is great fun and develops one, but my school work is important to me. It is difficult to try and catch-up on the school work you missed out on," he said.
CyclingSA has held a highly successful Track Training Camp in December 2011 in Cape Town where the team was selected. The identified team is divided into three groups; Male Endurance, Female Endurance and Male Sprint. Both Mxenge and Steyn are looking forward to going to the camps and are honoured to have been selected in the team. According to CyclingSA, a new talent identification squad for 2013 will be chosen at an open training camp, which will once again be held in December.