French Ambassador Fetes Nigerian Cyclists ahead World Championship


Michael Olugbodein Abuja

The newly appointed French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mme Emmanuelle Blatmann, has congratulated Nigeria’s four representatives to the 11th World Track Cycling Championship for making history by being among the two African countries to qualify for the event holding at the Jean Stablinski regional Indoor Velodrome in Roubaix, France from October 20-24, 2021.

Hosting the four cyclists as well as the Cycling Federation President and Secretary General, Engr. Giadomenico Massari and Makpa Shammah respectively in her official residence in Abuja on Saturday, the Ambassador said their qualification which was the first time ever, “shows the rise of the sport in the country and the enthusiasm it generates among the youth and with improved active women participation”.

“This is a monumental event as it is the first time in its history Nigeria has qualified for the World Cycling Championship, of which only two African countries (Nigeria and Egypt) have qualified to participate”, she said.

Media Attache to the French Embassy, Onyinye Madu said that though the Ambassador couldn’t meet with the cyclists and CFN delegation as “she was currently in isolation having just arrived in Nigeria last week, she was represented by the Deputy Ambassador, Mr Olivier Chatelias and other delegates”.

According to Madu, the Ambassador “sent words of encouragement to let the girls know that she was proud to welcome these talented sportswomen and she wishes them good luck for the event (and) hopes they will climb the steps of the podium”.

While Egypt is being represented by one cyclist, Nigeria will be represented by four namely Grace Ayuba, Tawakalt Yekeen, Ese Ukpeseraye and Mary Samuel.

Roubaix is the third most populated city in the northern region of France and is a well-known city in the cycling world as it hosts one of the oldest races called: “the Paris – Roubaix” which has taken place every year since 1896. This will be the 16th time that France has hosted the World Track Cycling Championships and the first time since 2015.