Friday the 3rd April 2015 saw 80 of the most talented children that KZN Cycling Development could find, descend upon the biggest stage that they could for the year. It was the final of the KwaZulu-Natal District Development Series 2015 and they were to take part in the Pietermaritzburg Mountain Bike Festival.
The event was held at Cascades Mountain Bike Park, which provided the setting for a huge final. Although the KwaZulu-Natal District Series was about mass participation, it was also about talent identification.
KwaZulu-Natal Cycling worked with the districts to hire taxis and transport all the children from their respective districts to take part in the grand final for 2015. One of the most moving moments of all for the team, was the fact that most of the youngsters had never left their towns before, let alone been that far from home.
KZN Cycling Development Officer, Tyrone Johns, said that the programme was about more than just giving as many children as possible the opportunity to ride a bicycle. It was also about social cohesion and changing as many children’s lives as they could.
They had representatives from uThukela District, uMgungunglovu District, uMkanyakude District, uThungulu District, eThekweni District and Sisonke District. Some of the children had travelled down and left their areas as early as 2.30am to get to the event and the team was very excited to have them there. By then the young ones had known how the format worked and soon all of the children were registered.
Each child got a T-shirt and was lined up and ready for practice. Johns mentioned that the event had had a fair amount of young females, which is always promising, and the boys just wanted to show off their skills and prove who was going to be the number one in each age group. The age groups were as follows:
· 10 and under
· 11 and 12
· 13 and 14
· 15 and over.
The racing was fierce and fast and looked great with the respective branding set out along the course. With the finish being under the Start/Finish Banner that had been erected for the entire weekend’s festival, it made for a spectacular event. The children raced their hearts out and all that they could see on display were the huge trophies that they could win if they made it onto the podium.
The results for the finals are in the table below with all the districts that they represent.
Tyrone Johns (KZN Cycling Development Chairman)
“None of this is possible without the huge support that we receive and this year was no different. A huge Thank You has to go to KwaZulu-Natal Sports and Recreation, Cycling South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Cycling and Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park for all the on-going support throughout the year. To Alec Lenferna for giving us the opportunity to host our final at the Pietermaritzburg Mountain Bike Festival, thank you very much. It made for a spectacular setting for our series final and gave the kids a view into the sharp end of the sport, with all of the other activities on display. To my team on the day Greg Stedman, Michelle and Eugene Eggar, Janine Dicks, Ewan Cochrain, Phakamane Radebe and his Giba Gorge Team, Guy Watkins and his Hammersdale Team and everyone else that came and took part it really was an amazing event. To Reneesha Nath and Duncan Pool from KwaZulu-Natal Sports and Recreation and Mike Bradley from Cycling South Africa thank you very much for coming and joining us and being a part of our Grand Final. It really has been an amazing year of learning, growing and changing lives. One thing that has stood out the most for me as I sat over the weekend and took a quiet moment to reflected over the past year, is when people ask me what I do for a living I can proudly say I change kids lives through cycling and that to me is the most powerful tool I could give back to KwaZulu-Natal.”
Source: KZN Cycling Development Series Press Release