Team Nigeria Cyclists Show Prowess In Track Cycling
–Win 7 Medals In SA
Tony Ezimakor, Abuja
Nigeria Cycling team of two, comprising elite female rider , Tombrapa Gladys Grikpa and junior cyclists, Mary Samuel has won seven medals at the African Women Track Championship concluded in South Africa, further demonstrating the potentials of the country in track cycling.
Mary Samuel won 4 silver medals in sprint and point race in the Junior Category while Gladys picked a silver and two bronze medals in the Elite events.
The track championship is a one of the qualifying event for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games .
The Nigerian girls pulled the feat although appearing at that stage for the first time in the continent.
President of the Nigeria Cycling Federation (CFN) Chief Giandomenico Massari said the result is a testimony of what track cycling can achieve for the country if given the necessary support.
Despite having the best facility for the sports at the Abuja Velodrome, track cycling had largely been ignored. That facility had just been cleared of the gas cylinders stored there since 2013.
Chief Massari said he was both excited and sad at the outing of the two girls ,which he said came with just a little technical support of South African Olympian Jean-Pierre van Zyl who took charge of the preparation of riders who do not have access to tracks in their home countries.
” We have great potential in track cycling but owing to the problems we have had with the use of the velodrome, these talents are not harnessed doe this coming Olympics ” he regretted.
The Cycling boss maintained that Nigeria has great potential in track cycling stem from sheer power of the average Nigerian athlete, pointing out that with adequate preparation, the cyclists may surprise at the 2019 UCI world track championship scheduled for Pruszkow, Poland at the end of February.
Riders from Algeria, Burundi, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa participated in the 3-day competition.