Sports

ACADEMY CHANGES OPINIONS ABOUT CYCLING

Pic by: ECN

Pic caption: Cyclist enthusiast Lukholo Badi (middle) and founder of Imveli Cyclist Acedemy with two members of his club.

It’s a fact that cycling is known to be one of the elite sports that is not associated with townships, but with time such perceptions are changing as we see more cyclists coming from disadvantaged areas. Port Elizabeth born cyclist and Eastern Cape Cycling president Lukholo Badi, has not only taken upon himself the task to teach township youth how to cycle, but has gone further to open an academy so that young people in the area can explore and take up the sport as a career. Eastern Cape News spoke to Badi, to hear more about his contribution to uplift disadvantaged communities around the province.

ECN:

Give us a brief background about Imveli Cycling Academy, when was it formed and how did the idea come about?

LB:

The idea of the academy came about informally in 2014, I participate in the in the ironman competitions here in Port Elizabeth were we do swimming, running, and cycling. I decided to start training young children cycling in the township so as to get them interested and I realise that there was talent there, I them decided to officially register the academy in 2015.

 

ECN:

We know that cycling is not popular in the township, how was idea received and how did you manage to get it started?

LB: In the beginning there was resistance because most people did not really understand the sport, I still remember people asking me why were children cycling in the street and not on the pavement. It was when they saw they benefits that they brought them to me in numbers.

ECN:

Given the costs involved do you have sponsors and if yes how has it been getting them?

LB:

It’s all about sacrifice, since we opened I have been self-funding the academy because we still do not have an official sponsor. We are also getting donations from other cyclists who give us second hand stuff like the cycling gear and bicycles.

ECN:

As an academy what do you do, I mean once your cyclist were spotted distributing pamphlets in Mdantsane some time back, what was that all about?

LB:

We try to go out of our base which is Port Elizabeth, because ideally we would like to race in other  regions but due to lack of resources we are unable to. When you saw our cyclists giving out phamplets in Mdantsane it was part of our drive to teach safe cycling because it is a high risk  whether your competing or not.

ECN:

Do you think black people are changing the way they view the sport and are beginning to see it as a career?

LB:

I must say the perception is changing though at a low pace because of lack of knowledge, many do not know how far they can go with the sport. Having said that w have over the years children who have produce good results, but fell short to realise their dreams because of lack of resources.

ECN:

Any plans for your academy expanding beyond the urban areas?

LB:

Yes we would like to go to the rural areas where we hope to introduce mountain biking because there has been a demand from other areas of the Eastern Cape to be part of the academy.

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