There is still a lot to do
MOHAPI Mosito has booked a spot in the Redbull Pump Track world finals set for later this year in a yet to be confirmed country.
Mosito qualified last weekend at an event held at the Roma Trading Post thanks to the Lesotho Sky events team, who have worked tirelessly to improve cycling in the country.
It was a day full of events on Saturday at the Roma Trading Post close to 70 riders from different age categories competing at the Velosulutions Pump Track.
At the end of the day, it was the Roma based teenager Mosito who walked away victorious and booked a place in the finals where five other riders namely Molefi Ntoko (19:79), Meke Mapanya (20:27) and Kopano Matobo (20:05), Khothalang Leuta (23:08) and Makhotso Paamo (26:69) will have to go through another qualification round in South Africa in July.
Leuta and Paamo will be riding in the female category.
It was indeed an incredible day and the event was graced by some riders from South Africa who include last year’s world finalist Georgina Grissie who, won in the female category.
I must admit that I was impressed with the work that I have the Lesotho Sky team put in at the Roma Trading Post.
Sky Events co-founder Christian Schmidt admitted that the race has improved this year compared to last year.
It felt good to see Basotho children showcasing such skills at a pump track which looks dangerous.
Riders showed immense courage and determination on the day and we have to thank Schmidt and his team for their idea of bringing this kind of sport into the country.
Previously, we only participated in mountain biking and road racing in which we have fared fairly as Lesotho is ranked second in Africa behind South Africa.
“Now almost two years since its completion, the pump track has become the base for a successful self-sustaining community development, boasting a locally run bike shop, events, the training of athletes and bike rentals to kids in the area,” Schmidt said of the project.
“The home of the first pump-for-peace initiative run by Velosolutions along with Lesotho Sky has proven its success with Mohapi taking the win today and his journey to the world finals will be a special one.”
However, I feel there is still lot that needs to be done to ready local riders for competition rest of the world.
Hopefully, those who will be travelling to the qualifiers have learnt a few tricks from Grissie, who was just fantastic to watch.
I also feel we need to get a new attire. I was disappointed to see most of the riders on the day racing in their causal wear including jeans and I couldn’t understand how the organisers let that happen.
Yes, I know that proper cycling attire might be expensive but I still think our riders could have used sports attires instead.
This made me remember a story of one local athlete who was struggling to run using spikes because she was not used to them.
It is wise that we encourage our athletes to use proper attire so that they are always comfortable in it because at major competitions, they may be disqualified for inappropriate attires.
Velosolutions has made things easier for the local riders by building that pump track and it is time that local companies also come to party and support the initiative.
There is also a monthly Cycling League that is staged in the same area which will run until the annual Lesotho Sky Race in September this year.
Schmidt and co are doing such a fantastic job in that area and what they need is support from the corporate world.