Craven praises cycling’s growth

30 June 2015 | Sports

Namibia’s elite cyclist, Dan Craven is astounded by the rate of progress in the sport over the last few years. Craven expressed these thoughts when it was announced that the National Cross-country Moutainbike Championships is heading to Walvis Bay where it will take place for the first time this Sunday, July 5. The cyclist was last Friday, speaking at the event to launch the championships, for which Nedbank has made a sponsorship of N$70 000. Craven, who represented Namibia at the 2012 Olympic Games, is based in Europe where he competes for the Europcar Team. “Every time I come back home I see changes,” he said. “It is always a nice surprise to see how much the sport has grown and it is amazing,” he added. Craven said that it is unfortunate that he won’t be able to take part in the forthcoming event but applauded the initiative and those behind it. “It is amazing to have the support of Nedbank,” he stated. The elite racer also said that this sort of events will only benefit the local scene and the many upcoming talents. “It is always great to see the future potential and I have to say that the spirit that exists in the cycling fraternity is fantastic,” he said. Credit The credit for the growth of cycling in recent years have been attributed to the tireless work done by the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF), which is under the tutelage of three-time Olympic Games participant, Mannie Heymans. This was the essence of the message delivered by Nedbank’s marketing and communications manager, Gernot de Klerk. “We can only be thankful for the never-ending commitments of the Namibian Cycling Federation and the national sporting authorities for creating an environment that allows our talented cyclists to excel,” he said. Heymans, for his part, stated that with Nedbank’s generous support, bigger things can be expected from the NCF, which held its Annual General Meeting last weekend. “This is the first time that the national championship will be hosted out of Windhoek and that will help the coastal side a lot,” he added. Upgrade Rock and Rut’s Conrad Dempsey said that the Coastal Cycling Club, which will host the event, has gone out of their way to improve their track in anticipation of the national championships. “They have a fun track and in fact they upgraded it to make it a great track,” he said. Dempsey added that while the event caters for elite racers, those still learning the ropes have also been provided for. “It will be a family orientated event as even those with basic skill levels can take part. So come out there and give it a try,” he said. There will be a number of categories ranging from children under-10 to grand master’s, which is tailored for racers over the age of 60. The elite men’s race will be a hotly contested affair between the likes of defending champion, Heiko Redecker, Michael Pretorius, Costa Seibeb, Xavier Papo and Tjipe Murangi. Martin Freyer will not take part as he is racing in Europe. The elite’s women’s race will be a straight shootout between the trio of Michelle Vorster, Irene Steyn and Hester Prins. Vorster, who claimed a bronze medal at the African Championship in Rwanda, is expected to be the favourite for the race. The men’s junior race, meanwhile, has been touted as the one to deliver the most excitement. African champion Tristan de Lange, who is ranked fourth among the world juniors, Brandon Plaatjies, who claimed a silver medal at the African champs, and Herbert Peters are just some of the names to watch out for during Sunday’s race. WINDHOEK-HECTOR MAWONGA

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