• Federation urges government to improve facilities
The Nigeria Cycling Federation (NCF) has rewarded the country’s contingent to the just concluded 2018 Tour Du Benin Cycling Championship held in Benin Republic. Nigeria finished in the second position behind Burkina Faso in the seven-nation African cycling tournament.
The seven-man team, who got a cheque of N200, 000 from their sponsors, AXA Mansard Insurance, at a thank you ceremony held at the National Stadium, Lagos, applauded the firm and the NCF for the encouragement given to the team before and after the championship.
Speaking at the event, president of the Nigeria Cycling Federation, Giandomenico Massari said the team’s performance in Benin Republic has shown that Nigeria has abundant cycling talents, adding that the country could be a potential hub for the sport in Africa and the world if more facilities were put in place for cyclists to train.
“The cycling team has been making Nigerians proud in different events such as the AAG where the women exceled. It requires a lot of techniques to perform in cycling. Coaches and psychologists have to work together to bring out the best in the team.
“We need more sponsors for cycling to take the sports to the next level. The Federation has been pleading with the government to refurbish the velodrome at the Abuja stadium. The facility there is of international standard and if refurbished, children and adults would have where to get the best training.
“Nigeria has abundant talents in cycling. We are also planning to take the sport to schools because there is need to get talents for cycling at a tender age,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, captain of the team, Femi Thomas praised NCF for recognising Team Nigeria’s effort at the championship, adding, “training for the championship was not easy, but we did our best. This reward would spur us to do more in future.
“Seven cyclists and the team mechanic will share the money. Apart from the N200, 000, the organisers of of Tour Du Benin also gave the team money. When we converted to naira it amounted to N245,000.
“The team needs more sponsors and competitions to strive. We have been invited to a competition in Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroun later this year. If the team gets sponsors we will attend. We also thank the Ogun State government for backing us,” he said.
Other countries that participated at the cycling championship are Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Benin A, Benin B, Cameroun and Togo.