Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Over 100 cyclists, 20 coaches and 25 commissaires (referees) from Nigeria, Ghana and Benin Republic will today at the Velodrome, Abuja, begin a two-week intensive training/selection process organised by the Nigeria Cycling Federation (CFN) to intensify preparations toward the maiden Africa Track Cycling Championship, scheduled July between 26 and 28.
President of the Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN), Giadomenico Massari, disclosed this at the weekend.
He said the Abuja training/selection camp for the Africa Cup was necessary given that track cycling is relatively new for countries in the sub-region.
Massari said the training/selection programme will also serve as preparation for other engagement of the federation, including the World Junior Track Championship, for male and female, the Elite version of the championship and the All Africa Games (Track).
Already, Ghana and Benin Republic have accepted invitations to participate in programme out of all West African countries invited.
“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 resource in terms of technical support. Dr. Emmanuel Igbinosa who recently bagged his certificate as UCI certified Instructor/Commissaire (Track/Road Cycling) will be on hand to train the commissaires while Coach Bashiru Mohammed will handle the coaches. He will be assisted by senior coaches in the selection which will be done by elimination,” said Massari.
He, however, bemoaned 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.
He noted that the requirement for provision of inside perimeter fence in the velodrome has not been done in spite of the assurance to that effect by the sports ministry.
“Another challenge we have is equipment. Presently we do not have track cycles 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 but it has not materialised. We need track cycles urgently to get our athletes ready for these coming events, ” he said..