SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS - The SWD cyclists performed exceptionally well at the Oudtshoorn Youth Festival during the first week of the June school holidays and managed to bag 50 podium positions, 16 gold, 22 silver and 12 bronze.
The event's focus was, however, not about the individual rider, but rather on team participation with provinces entering teams. The teams had to be of a specific compilation, depending on the age categories and had to have ladies and previously disadvantaged riders on their teams.
SWD had a team in each age category and was able to win the team points competition in each of the age categories. The teams participated in five disciplines, including road race, criteria, team time trial, MTB Cross Country and MTB Marathon, and received points for their positions, as well as participation.
Individual riders also participated and at the end of the event, all the provinces' riders points were added to determine which province accumulated the most points. Although SWD did not have the most riders, it took the honours, beating the Eastern Province for the first place and Western Province in third.
This Youth Festival was hosted by SWD Cycling Association, in conjunction with CSA and formed part of the Youth Festival taking place in Oudtshoorn.
In his welcoming letter, Roger Bouton, National Director Transformation & Development for Cycling South Africa, said, "Through our points and team allocation, we have attempted to address talent identification for all youth, whilst at the same time having a special focus on transformation and thereafter the development of all our youth, including cyclists with a disability."
Bouton was present at the event and experienced the wonderful atmosphere and very competitive racing. Mr Hendrik Wagenaar, the Road Commissioner for Cycling South Africa, also visited the event to have a look at the talent.
During the week, the young cyclists were exposed to team competition and multi-day racing. Competing in five different disciplines in four days was an experience for most of the kids as they were exposed to disciplines they normally would not take part in.
Without events such as these, talent identification and exposure to cycling and skills development would be very difficult. A very important factor, probably the most important one, should not be overlooked - fun, fun, fun for all the cyclists!
The organisers thank the sponsors, especially the Oudtshoorn Municipality, as they played a huge role in bringing cycling and other sporting activities to Oudtshoorn during the June school holidays. Without their initiative and sponsorship this event would not be possible.
"To each and every sponsor, person helping, spectator, organizing committee, Volmoed community, individual, team managers and parents, thank you very much for your contribution towards making this event a huge success. We hope to see you all back next year in Oudtshoorn and we are looking forward to the next event at the Gariep Dam during October."