South African BMX racers returned home with a full house of medals at the recent African Continental Championships held at the purpose-built track in Future City, located in Cairo, Egypt, on 10 November. Dylan Eggar, Alex Limberg and Brandon Pratt were the gold, silver and bronze medal winners in the Elite Men competition.
While BMX is a relatively new discipline to be introduced to the northern African cycling-mad countries, there was a strong showing of riders representing Algeria, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Namibia and Sudan. While these countries are strong in their road cycling development, it was refreshing to see the enthusiasm and willingness to learn the new sport as they pioneer BMX racing in their countries.
For our trio, the medals are of great importance, but it is the UCI points on offer for a Continental Championships-classified event that carried the greatest value! Qualifying to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is top of mind for all athletes at the top end of their sport at the moment, and this result provided a good set of points to bank.
According to Tyrone Johns, who serves as Cycling South Africa’s BMX High Performance Commissioner, South Africa’s preparations for Tokyo are going really well. Manqoba Madida, who was unable to compete due to complications allied to his visa and passport, has been based long term at UCI WCC in Aigle, Switzerland; Dylan will head to the USA to start racing and earning points there; while Brandon has been participating and also scoring points on the UK racing scene. Alex has been training and racing well and has taken his love of the sport even further to share his experience and knowledge with up-and-coming budding stars since he qualified as a coach recently.
“For BMX on the continent, hosting the African Continental Championships in the northern region was a phenomenal achievement, with five different nations competing in Elite Men final. Those riders are looking to South Africa as the leaders on the continent at this stage,” said Tyrone.
Prior to the Championships, the UCI WCC hosted a Training Camp, sending helmets, equipment and bicycles for those participating in the camp and investing in the sport by leaving the equipment behind after the camp for the Federation to use.
“The participants were very eager to learn and within two weeks had advanced from never riding on a BMX track before to completing a lap successfully. We also trained a coach from Egypt with the intent that he will continue to train BMX racers in future.”
In the new year, Tyrone will be leaving South Africa to work on a permanent basis for the UCI in Aigle, continuing his involvement with BMX and MTB as an assistant coach to Liam Phillips and Charles Evans respectively.
Cycling SA BMX Commission Director Margot Gerber said that the UCI’s gain was Cycling SA’s loss and that we were losing a valuable asset for BMX in South Africa.
We wish Tyrone every success in Europe!
Summary of Results – CAC BMX African Championships 2018
Dylan Eggar RSA
Alex Limberg RSA
Brandon Pratt RSA
Ahmed Clip EGY
Noureldin Hussien EGY
Karim Mohamed EGY
Arafa Hassan SUD
Victoria AbdelKarim SUD
Haggar Hesham EGY
Alaa Ahmed EGY
Yvonne Irankunda BUR
Salma Aatia EGY