Barely 10 days to the commencement of the maiden Africa Track Cycling Championships in Abuja, president, Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN), Giandomenico Massari, has assured the continent of Nigeria’s readiness to host a successful championship.
The inaugural championship scheduled to run from July 26 to 28, 2019 at the Velodrome of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, would feature no fewer than 100 participants from ten African countries.
Addressing newsmen yesterday ahead of the event, Massari said cycling teams from 10 countries will be competing at the games, adding that notable world cycling champions will be around to inspire young athletes.
“This is the maiden edition of the Cycling Africa Cup in the continent and it is the first championship that Nigeria will be hosting since the Velodrome was built in 2003.
“No fewer than 100 participants would feature in the competition from ten countries namely; Guinea, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Republic of Benin, Burundi, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria.
“There will be international coaches that will coordinate the activities during the games and also coaching courses for track and other aspects of the sports will be held,” he said.
Massari also hinted that there will be exhibition contest between current and former champions to inspire upcoming young athletes.
“Also there will be an exhibition contest involving present and former world champions of the games to inspire the youth for that task ahead. Former Italian cycling professionals like Mrs. Giorgia Bronzini, three-time United Cycling International (UCI) world champion, and Roberto Chiappa, two-time UCI world champion.
“Also, Andrea Tonti, former Italy national team member and other lieutenants of several UCI world champions will be around during the competition.
“The leadership of Confederation of Africa Cycling (CAC), led by its president, Mohamed Azzam, would also be in Abuja for the event.”
He appealed to corperate organizations to contribute to the development of the sports in the country.
“We want to make cycling one of the fastest growing sports in Nigeria and to boost athletes because we have the potential that can place Nigeria in the cycling world map.
“We want sponsors that believe in the sport to come and partner with the federation. The game of cycling is more than just sport. It has health benefits to human and also environmental friendly which can ease the congestion of road transportation.”
The technical director of the Nigeria Cycling Federation, Mohammmed Bashir, said team Nigeria is working hard to do the nation proud at the championship.
“Nigeria is ranked high in Africa and we want to go beyond the records. We have selected 21 athletes in the senior elite and the under-23 athletes both male and female that will be representing the nation at the championship in different categories”.