KwaZulu-Natal’s development projects continue to gain momentum as time progresses with many projects gaining traction and continuing to build the grass roots growth beyond cycling and into the peripheral elements of a complete cycling event.
The capacity building projects have been an important element of the development. With a stacked calendar of race events throughout the year, there is a constant need for marshals, for example, and the intent of KZN Cycling has been to build up a database of trained marshals who are equipped and certified to provide a consistent level of performance at events going forward.
A Marshals Course with the necessary training materials was put together by Nick Floros, a UCI MTB International Commissaire and Alec Lenferna in his capacity as the African Confederation Events Consultant. Richard Dlamini of Jas Guarding and Marshal Services has been appointed as the KZN Cycling Chief Marshal Trainer and he, together with members of his staff, have been trained by Nick and Alec as part of a “Training Trainers” programme.
A total of four Marshal Courses have been held with 113 candidates attending and 98 of them having satisfied the components of the course, now acknowledged as certified KZN Marshals. Another two courses are scheduled from January 2019.
Additional week-long courses were made available to the 11 districts of KwaZulu-Natal in November, such as Event Management, Officiating, Club/Event Administration, Safety and Security Officiating, Mechanics and Coaching. iLembe, King Cetshwayo, uMzinyathi and Amajuba Districts were represented with 294 course certificates issued to all attendees. The courses for the uMgungundlovu and eThekwini District’s representatives will be staged in January 2019 with much larger groups attending due to these people being able to travel to the course venues daily.
Despite November being a difficult month regarding schools and their exam schedules, the development programme still managed to successfully host 92 development clinics which saw 4 384 learners pass through the programme in November alone! Since April, 561 clinics have been held with 23 894 learners attending.
In addition, new mass participation events are emerging within the districts to bring learners from different schools in the area to train and compete against each other, fostering a healthy competition amongst the riders. Plus, two new cycling events that formed part of the Drakensberg Extravaganza saw the KZN Cycling development racing squad participate with Thabiso Shange taking second place overall in the MTB race; while Thandolwethu Mfuphi won the 40km road race with third place going to Thabiso Zindela. Sphamandla Ngubane also stood on the podium in his age category with a hard fought second place.
A small group of the Track High Performance Group attended the Gauteng Inter-provincial and Grand Prix this month, offering a good learning curve for the U15 and U17 boys as they competed with the pros.
KZN Cycling Chief Operating Officer Alec Lenferna said: “We are extremely happy with the fact that KZN Cycling has unearthed a great group of riders through the development programme that are showing a real affinity for track cycling. This group has been part of the higher performance programme for the past few months in preparation for the SA Track Championships. The riders got a huge boost two weeks ago when they had a concentrated two-day coaching session with Kurt Begemann who after coaching track cycling in the USA for the past 24 years, has returned to South Africa and is now involved in the local scene. Kurt was hugely impressed with the youngsters in our group and is predicting good things for them in Cape Town.”
While December will quieten down considerably, the programme will continue in full force in the new year.