The KwaZulu-Natal Government and the Msunduzi Municipality have been honoured with the CAC (Confederation of African Cycling) President’s “Friends of Africa” Award for their contribution to the development of the sport of cycling in South Africa and on the African Continent as a whole. Confirmation of the award was sent to the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Mchunu as well as to the Mayor of the Msunduzi Municipality, Councillor Njilo late last week.
CAC is the entity that controls the sport on the African Continent under the auspices of the UCI – the Union Cycliste Internationale – which is the international cycling federation based in Aigle, Switzerland. CAC has its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt and the President, Dr Wagih Azzam, is also the Senior Vice President of the UCI.
Since 2009, Pietermaritzburg has been recognised as Africa’s Bike City and is one of only three UCI Bike City’s around the world – a status it shares with Copenhagen for Europe and Melbourne for Australasia. In this time, the major international events that have been staged in the city and surrounding region include two Continental Championships as well as 10 UCI World Cup events and five UCI World Championships in different disciplines. In fact, Pietermaritzburg is now recognised as the venue that has staged the most different cycling World Cups and World Championships anywhere in the world, which is a remarkable feat for a small city in KwaZulu-Natal relative to all the major cities around the world.
Preparations continue for events in and around Pietermaritzburg for 2017 and beyond, including the 2017 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships in August and September 2017. This next World Championships will see disabled sportsmen & women from 45-50 nations coming to the region to compete. The city has already played host to a leg of the UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup in 2015 and 2016 with great success and the 2017 event will be the culmination of this journey for and with these truly remarkable athletes.
In terms of the award, Dr Azzam was quoted as saying: “Pietermaritzburg and the region of Kwazulu-Natal now have a firmly entrenched position in world cycling and the fact that so many wonderful events have been staged in the area have put the region on the world map. It is understood and accepted that without the on going support of the KwaZulu-Natal Government and that of the city that none of the events and programmes would have been possible and this fact was once again raised and accepted at the recent CAC Management Board meeting held in Cairo recently. It was proposed then and unanimously accepted that the KwaZulu-Natal Government and Msunduzi Municipality and their related structures be awarded the CAC President’s “Friends of Africa” Award for their contribution to the development of the sport of cycling in South Africa and on the African Continent as a whole.”
Dr Azzam is planning on visiting KwaZulu-Natal late in January 2017 where he will hand over the physical awards to the two recipients.