Cycling South Africa’s National Cycling Indaba drew over 80 cycling stakeholders from around the country and was hailed a success after two days of presentations, discussions and breakaway groups at the Garden Court Marine Parade in Durban last week. The Indaba presented an opportunity to identify where future focus is required in two pressing issues faced in our sport today – Transformation and Development, and Road Safety.
On the opening day, Dr Willie Basson (Eminent Persons Group) delivered a presentation on the EPG – an Independent Transformation Commission appointed by the Minister of Sport and Recreation to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Transformation Charter.
Dr Basson said: “Cycling South Africa is at a very important point in their history because of the rising prominence of cycling in the country. It’s the right time to start thinking about how we shape ourselves for the future. Because the inclination, like most sports administrators are used to saying, is ‘tomorrow will be the same as today’. It can never be the same and it’s ideally placed to shape and to be the architects of the future as opposed to engineering your own demise.”
Cycling Academies, an active part of our transformation and development, delivered their presentations on the successes and challenges of growing cycling in their regions. Cycling SA’s Transformation and Development Commission Director, Yster Xatasi, was pleased with the outcome of the National Cycling Indaba.
“One triumph that I see that the Indaba has achieved is the National Development Academy Forum that was established,” said Xatasi. “This is very important because there are many other academies that we don’t know of in the country. I am getting so many phone calls from different parts of the country from people who want to establish cycling in their areas. This is a chance for cycling to transform through the forum of academies that we have established.”
Nokukhanya Zondo is from the Department of Sport and Recreation UMkhanyakude District, and has taken a lead role in the development of cycling in the Jozini area of northern KwaZulu-Natal. Speaking about the importance of the Indaba, Zondo said: “I was able to meet all the other stakeholders that are also playing a pivotal role within cycling development. Being able to network and get more information about their services and what they are doing was valuable. I was also being able to meet other academies that are in my position and others that have developed far beyond from where I am right now. It gives me hope and a vision of where one day Jozini cycling can go in the future.”
Songo Fipaza, a recognised community leader from Kayamandi in the Western Cape and founder of songo.info, thought that the Indaba was a great initiative. “Listening to the academies sparked a lot of memories for me. It made me realise where we have come from to get to where we are today. Listening to all the different discussions that came up gave me a lot of hope that positive things will start happening; you could feel the energy that was shared between the people who are running the academies. It’s very exciting that the federation is part of this all. I am hoping there will be steps and measures to be put in place and followed.”
TAS Bonga Cycling Academy’s Bonga Ngqobane, who started the first ever cycling club in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, was satisfied with how the Indaba unfolded. “The Cycling SA officials that engaged with us opened up and the discussion was very informative. I can assure you that I will be one of the people making sure that the transformation that we spoke about gets done. Not in ten years, but now, because we don’t have time. It’s nice to be leading the development and it’s nice to know that the little work we are doing, there is something that is imparting and there is change that we are bringing to the fraternity.”
Bruce Malele from SAMPADA Cycling in Moreletapark Pretoria, said he had hoped for more discussion around high performance development, like how to get more riders into the professional ranks up to Olympic level. Malele was one of the delegates who initiated the National Development Academy Forum at the Indaba. “My goal is to see an increase in the number of black people who race in the country. We need to be able to keep track of the riders. Academies are coming in, riders are coming in, but then they also get washed out of the system and no one knows what happened to them. We must be in a position to feed them into provincial teams.”
Mrs Rohini Naidoo, Head of Department of KwaZulu-Natal Sport and Recreation, delivered her address on how the province has embarked on Talent Identification and further developing talented athletes at the PRIME Human Performance Institute in Durban.
“Cycling is perceived as an elite sport for elite people,” said Mrs Naidoo. “The pathway from Talent Identification (TID) to High Performance (HP) has to be defined. The provincial talent development plan is based on the national plan – the Long Term Participant Development plan (LTPD), which cycling has in place. Then we have the SA Coaching Framework, and with these two plans in place, we simply need to follow what is there.”
Mrs Naidoo explained that Transformation and Development are synonymous with each other. “We’ve all committed ourselves to this dynamic nation of change. If we start with sport as a form of recreation, then from there the LTPD plan kicks in. Then we can move up the competitive ladder and focus on the smaller component with a competitive interest and ability and work with them to strengthen their competitive role.”
Speaking of KwaZulu-Natal Cycling’s Development Programme, Mrs Naidoo mentioned that some youth from the programme had already progressed to the HP programme. “The province has provided the infrastructure and the federation has identified the talent for us to work with these selected athletes.”
Mrs Naidoo spoke of the success of the Elite Athlete Development Programme underway for the past two-and-a-half years at PRIME Human Performance Institute, which has grown in attendance from 115 athletes in year one, to 130 in year two, and 122 athletes this year so far across 16 sporting codes. The model in place is working.
“The province worked with the federations and identified athletes with talent. They were placed in the HP programme because of the principle that we wanted no one to participate in a race where we watch them and say that ‘if they only had scientific, nutritional and medical support, they could’ve won the race’. We can see the development happening here. We cast the net out wide and we turn nobody down. This year, our athletes yielded 821 medals in provincial, national and international events; and after two-and-a-half years, twelve athletes were in the Rio Olympic Team, with two bronze and one gold medal. The programme is working.”
Speaking about triathlete Henri Schoeman’s bronze medal winning race, Mrs Naidoo attested that everyone had their hearts in their mouths; it was amazing! “Sport holds the heart of the nation in our hands – nothing gets this nation going like sport,” she said.
Talking about Road Safety and the sustainable development of cycling, Robert Vogel from Pedal Power Association (PPA) shared his thoughts on the Indaba. Despite PPA having developed the 1.5m “Stay wider of the rider” cycle safety campaign, Vogel feels that it is an open source campaign.
“It must benefit as many people as possible. I’ve also realised that you take it to a very local level in areas so that people take ownership of the campaign. We want to take it national through media, but it has the most effect on a very localised level where we have individuals or clubs taking elements of that campaign into an area, and all of a sudden you start adding all of those areas together and you have a far greater reach.
“For me it’s the perfect model. It’s not like the campaign is unknown outside of the Cape. But now we can spread the word much more. And wherever anybody comes in and offers to help – I’m all for it. Wherever we can provide resources and material, we’re happy to do it because that is our mandate after all – to look after the interests of all cyclists.”
Cycling SA President William Newman was thankful to General Manager Mike Bradley and the partnership from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation to successfully deliver a platform for cycling’s stakeholders to get together.
“This is a ground-breaking meeting for Cycling South Africa that will shape the future of our sport,” said Newman. “It was a great audience that attended and a good mix of people from quite a few of the academies, representatives from regions, provinces and also the bicycle industry, and Pedal Power Association were here, which is fantastic. Everybody showed a willingness to cooperate; to work together and offer their services, which is heart-warming to see that we are one big sporting family where people are willing to help each other for common good. And that’s for the good of the cyclists.
“There are different needs for them: there’s the recreation need, the commuter need, the safety need, the need to look after women’s cycling, but very importantly, the need to look after the development riders and those who have not been given an opportunity.
“We also need to try and help unlock funding to continue. I’d like to see the pathway for them to excel so that their riders can be the champions and representing Cycling South Africa in the future.”
To view the recorded video content from the 2016 National Cycling Indaba, please click the following links:
· Cycling SA President Mr William Newman’s Opening Address ( click here)
· Dr Willie Basson’s (EPG) presentation ( click here)
· Mrs Rohini Naidoo’s (HoD KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation) presentation ( click here)
· Cycling SA General Manager Mike Bradley’s Summary on day two, outlining resolutions and actions ( click here)
· Cycling SA President William Newman’s Closing Address ( click here)
To view more information on the National Cycling Indaba, please visit: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-national-cycling-indaba/.