With the African Track Cycling Championships fast approaching, riders from Burundi, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and hosts South Africa are making their way to Pietermaritzburg to contest the many Continental titles and medals on offer.
The Egyptian team will be led by Olympian Ebtissam Zayed who will be defending a host of titles in the women’s category. The South African women’s team led by multiple National Champion Charlene du Preez will however be going all out to ensure that they share in the medal haul.
South African Sprint champion Jean Spies will have his eyes firmly fixed on retaining his Sprint, Keirin and Time Trial titles and ensure qualification for the upcoming 2019 UCI World Championships scheduled for Pruszkow, Poland at the end of February.
Steven van Heerden, Joshua van Wyk and Carl Bonthuys will lead the South African charge in the endurance events while exciting new prospect and newcomer to the junior ranks, Jonathan Bouwer will be up against the likes of teammates Matthew Fortuin and Aiden Geary in the junior category.
Although the other nations are relatively new to track cycling, surprises cannot be ruled out, especially from the Seychelles team who participated at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. A training camp under supervision of South African Olympian Jean-Pierre van Zyl is currently underway to assist with the preparation of riders who do not have access to tracks in their home countries.
There will be seven events per category as follows:
With Africa guaranteed spots in the Omnium and Sprint events in Tokyo, at least four African riders will be on the track in Tokyo. The competition amongst the nations for these spots will therefore be extremely fierce leading up to the end of the Tokyo 2020 qualification period.
The local youth of KwaZulu-Natal will also have an opportunity to be part of this event as the African Championships will run alongside the KZN Invitational event which runs until 20 January 2019.
Racing takes place at the Sax Young Cycling Track, Alexandra Park daily from 17-19 January 2019, starting at 09:00. Entry is free to the public.