The African Cycling Confederation has invited three young South African women cyclists to take part in a Road Training Camp with the World Cycling Centre Africa in Sharm ElSheikh, from 22 January - 9 February.
Ashleigh Parsons, Danielle van Niekerk, and Jennifer Abbot set off to the training camp in the north of the continent which aims to improve the skills, technique and level of female cyclists in Africa. High-level coaching and performance evaluation are two major focuses of the camp.
Parsons said that hearing that she had been afforded the opportunity to go was the best news ever. “I’m looking most forward to being able to train in a completely different environment and learning as many more skills as possible,” she said.
Having never been to Egypt, Parsons is overwhelmed and beyond excited to go. “From what I’ve seen, it looks like one beautiful country,” she said.
17 year-old Parsons does not have a specific skill that she would like to work on, she simply wants to learn as much as she can, and gain as much knowledge as she can about the sport during her stay at the camp.
Although never having been to Egypt before, Danielle van Niekerk is no stranger to the climate, having lived in Dubai for eight years before moving back to her hometown, Johannesburg.
“I am looking so forward to this trip,” she said. “I have big dreams and aspirations when it comes to my cycling career and I want to do whatever it takes to make them happen. This for me is just another path on the road to my dreams. I have only been riding for 2 years now and have slowly but surely been working my way up.”
Being skilled on both the road and track bike (holding six national track titles), Van Niekerk is truly beginning to find her feet in the sport. “I am hoping to make my mark this coming year as a first year Elite, as well as going to race overseas. I want to prove to everyone that anything can be done if you dream big and work hard,” she added.
Van Niekerk is looking forward to the valuable lessons to be learnt at the training camp as a first year Elite that she feels she wouldn’t be able to learn back home alone. “This camp will also allow me to meet a lot of new people and in the process, make new friends whom share the same passion as me,” she said.
Jennifer Abbot, who also joins van Niekerk and Parsons, participated in a high-level track training camp and the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland last year, and this years adventure will undoubtedly contribute greatly to her climbing success as a young woman cyclist in South Africa.