CODAH Cycling Club, (a project of the Children of Destiny at Home) which began in 2014, has come a long way in two years, getting more and more children from impoverished communities in Hammarsdale onto bicycles and instilling important life skills and values into their young lives. The recent Murray and Roberts Jack Cheetham and Letsema awards saw CODAH Cycling Club take home third prize, and a well deserved prize purse that came along with it.
The Jack Cheetham Award recognises special work done by sports development projects. CODAH Cycling Club received the Second Runner Up prize of R75000, behind the National Archery in Schools Programme (First Runner Up) and Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation (First Prize).
Head Coach and founder of the CODAH Cycling Club, Guy Watkins said: “We are all so chuffed. We are absolutely over the moon!”
After watching Diepsloot MTB Academy win last year, the Jack Cheetham Awards have always been in the back of Watkins’ mind. “I approached the team and said ‘if you want to do it, lets do it.’”
Watkins said that him and his team weren’t expecting anything, and that if they didn’t get anything or come anywhere, that would also be okay. “When we were short-listed down to six, we were really excited and it all started getting serious,” he said.
It was then team presentations in front of a panel that followed. “I didn’t go, I sent some of the guys to go and do it. This was great for experience, it was for them,” said Watkins.
When chatting about the prize money, Watkins said: “This money is essentially R75000 over the next two years. We are hoping to get some kits made for them, and T-shirts. We’d also love to get more kids into the races. Hopefully we can also squeeze out some decent bicycles for them as well.”
Watkins also mentioned that they hope to send a team member to a bike mechanics course in Johannesburg. The attendee will then impart valuable knowledge learned, and become an even more valuable asset to the team by assisting riders with their bikes.
To show the determination and dedication of some of the riders of the CODAH Cycling Club, Watkins explained a recent scenario which took place at the Tsogo Sun Amashova: “I had seven of my guys in the Tsogo Sun Amashova. One of them crashed so badly and broke his collarbone, but got back onto his bike and carried on. He then got a puncture, but that didn’t stop him either from finishing the race.”
The club has achieved success in many races this year, including first, second and third in the Senior Category at the KZN Development Day Race held at Cascades. The Sub-Vets Men also claimed second and fifth place at the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash in August.
The club also plans to enter seven female riders and three U-14 male riders into the Eston Christmas 10km MTB Race in November.
“We’ve only been going for three years (February 2017 will be three years). We’ve come a long way. The guys we were up against were super jacked up. We are going to get there,” concluded Watkins.