Youth Festival nurturing talent in Oudtshoorn

The annual Oudtshoorn Youth Festival took place in the Western Cape last week from 3-5 July, and young athletes displayed outstanding talent on a bicycle from the various surrounding regions.

The emphasis of the event was on mass participation, and it created an opportunity for all riders under the age of 19 to compete against others from all over the country.

Various codes of cycling were showcased for the riders to get more exposure to the variety of the discipline of cycling, such as road racing, mountain biking and criterium racing – to name a few.

Eden, Cape Metro, Free State, Eastern Cape, Cape Winelands and the West Coast were the regions taking part, each with very strong competitors within the districts. The Eden district showed the most amount of wins, coming out on top at the end of the festival.

Cycling South Africa’s Youth, Transformation and Development Chair, Bonga Nqgobane attended the festival, and said that events like these were extremely important for the development and transformation of the sport.

Ngqobane also added that while he felt the event had been well attended, there was a smaller field compared to previous years. “I think this is due to the fact that a number of districts weren’t well represented and a lack of equipment contributed to this as well.”

When chatting about the importance of support for cycling development in the country, Nqgobane said: “Although initiatives like the recent Oudtshoorn Youth Festival provide vital opportunities for young cyclists and give them opportunities to gauge their performance with others in their age categories, the industry has a long way to go. This is why I still continue to ask for support from corporates, local and national government. I am also reaching out to all the cycle shops to please come on board in making this initiative easy and sustainable. Without support we cannot further develop this initiative that is aimed at giving valuable opportunities for young riders in the country.”

A full set of results for the 2017 Oudtshoorn Youth Festival can be found here: https://www.cyclingsa.com/development-downloads/