Cycling experience begins at schools

 
 

South African Schools Cycling (SASC), an Associate Member of Cycling South Africa, is promoting the development of the sport of cycling at school and grass roots level, breaking down the barriers to entry throughout South Africa.

With a functional committee already established on a national basis, there is an urgent need to create commissions in each province in order to set up provincial structures in a drive to comply with the requirements of Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA).

SASC, responsible for the sport of cycling at school level under the auspices of the Schools Act and the Department of Basic Education, is driving their Vision 2016 programme, which is to get cycling listed on the approved school sport list. SRSA supports 16 sporting codes at school on a five-year cycle. Currently, cycling is not an approved school sport.

SRSA is starting to look now at the sports to be included on that list for 2016, which adds to the urgency of the SASC establishing and running their provincial structures in order to be considered for selection in 2016.

The Department of Basic Education owns the use of the term “schools” when hosting a sport event. Due to SASC being an Associate Member of Cycling South Africa, schools are able to host school cycling events as long as they comply within the rules and regulations of the Department of Basic Education. Therefore the recognition of a school event goes to the school, and not so much to the individual participant.

A school cycling event needs to be, where possible, held at a school and cannot be an add-on at any other established cycling event, due to the various laws pertaining to school sport. The schools event has to also comply to the Schools Act, respect the privacy of the learners’ data, be compliant with the Safety Events Act, the National Sports Act as well as other legal requirements pertaining to the hosting of events. Schools that are interested in hosting a cycling event can apply to SASC.

President of SA Schools Cycling, Mr. Deon Steyn, said: “We are looking at setting up provincial structures as a matter of urgency. We appeal to schools to come to the fore and put forward some names as we need administrators to help set up these structures in the provinces. We realise that SASC’s first contact with cycling kids in future is going to be through schools events, and we accept that schools are not yet aware of the rules and regulations pertaining to cycling. With this in mind, it is part of the reason that we will be training Commissaires, coaches and team managers to develop a whole new skill set for the staff at the schools as well. We will make ourselves available for this – it is one of the areas of responsibilities that we accept.

“We are committed to growing SASC and have gone as far as translating the rules and regulations documents into Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans, over and above the English version, to reach as far and wide an audience as possible.”

The focus of school cycling at primary school level is on the basic development and skills, whereas the high schools compete against each other in a racing environment.

Steyn acknowledged and commended Spur Steak Ranches for their on-going sponsorship and support of the Spur High School MTB League, which has seen an overwhelming increase in competitors since 2009. This year’s Nationals, which saw competitors from Namibia and Zimbabwe compete as well, had a record number of 355 riders from more than 69 schools compete in the two-day event. Not only was the top high school awarded a trophy, but the top competing province as well. The league was launched in 2009 as a joint initiative between Spur and AMARIDER to create a fun, racing environment for learners and has also facilitated the building of mountain bike tracks on school property and community grounds.