West African cyclists in Abuja for Africa Cup selection, training
More than 100 cyclists from across West Africa have been in Abuja preparing for the maiden Africa Track Cycling Championship, also known as the Africa Cup for the National Stadium Velodrome.
Alongside the cyclists, are 20 coaches and 25 cycling commissars (referees) from Nigeria, Ghana and Benin Republic. They have been engaged in a two-week intensive training/selection process organised by the Nigeria Cycling Federation (CFN).
The Maiden Africa Cup will hold from for July 26 to 28, 2019.
Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN) President, Giadomenico Massari said at the weekend that the training/selection camp has become necessary given that track cycling is relatively new to countries in the West Africa sub-region.
He said the training/selection programme would also serve as preparation for other engagements of the federation, including the World Junior Track Championship (Male/Female), the Elite version of the championship and the Africa Games (Track).
“It is a massive three-level event wholly sponsored by the federation. We are providing accommodation, feeding and local transportation for participants. We are also drawing from our own local resources in terms of technical support,” Massari said, adding that, “Dr. Emmanuel Igbinosa, who recently bagged his certificate as UCI certified Instructor/Commissar (Track/Road Cycling) will be on hand to train the commissars, while Coach Bashiru Mohammed will handle the coaches.”
According to Massari, Dr. Igbinosa and Mohammed would be assisted by senior coaches in the selection, which will be done by elimination.
The CFN president lamented the lack of government support in meeting some of the requirements for certification of the velodrome ahead of the Africa Cup, which is barely two months away.
“For instance, the requirement for provision of inside perimeter fence in the velodrome has not been done, even though the sports ministry continues to give assurance.
“Another challenge we have is equipment. We do not have track cycles now and this is very important. We have continued to improvise, using what we have, but that only slows the pace for us.
“We have had promises from European/UCI to support the centre with 25 track cycles, and it has not materialised. We need track cycles urgently to get our athletes ready for these coming events,” Massari lamented.