Club grooms future cycling champs

2019-11-26 06:00
Abduraghiem de Klerk, founding member of the Fresh Start Cycling Club gave thanks to the young riders.PHOTOS: Racine Edwardes

Abduraghiem de Klerk, founding member of the Fresh Start Cycling Club gave thanks to the young riders.PHOTOS: Racine Edwardes

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The Fresh Start Cycling Club, started as a means to get children off the street, celebrated its fifth year of cycling excellence with an auspicious awards ceremony on Saturday 16 November.

The founders of the club, Sageda and Abduraghiem de Klerk, thanked the children who have shown dedication to their improvement through Fresh Start at the event held at Ocean View community centre.

Abduraghiem added that, more than showcasing their talent, the cyclists have been taught the importance of taking responsibility for their bikes and their lives.

Looking back on their humble beginnings, he said: “My wife and I started this club five years ago with three boys. And those three boys were so impressive that we thought we would enter them into the winter league, also known as the scholars’ league.

“We are currently standing here with all these athletes – 24 riders. But because of space and not enough bicycles, it’s difficult to accommodate the waiting list of people who want to join.”

The club’s executive member Suzette Farmer, whose son Alistair is a member of the team, noted that Fresh Start has worked to develop well-rounded children.

“Our main aim in this club is to help curb drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, child abuse and even gangsterism in our community. The coaches are teaching them cycling skills and exposing them to many important aspects of teamwork,” she said.

O’Ryan Bruintjies – chair of the Kinetic Cycling Club, schools commissioner at Western Province Cycling Association and a notable cycler for more than 15 years – introduced his team’s riders-to-watch who were taken to compete overseas.

“There is a competition overseas in the Netherlands and I said to our boys, ‘You’re the SA champs now, but let’s see how you do in the Netherlands’. So we took the four riders: Matthew Fortuin, Jason Bruintjies, Mirshab Jordab and Luke Oldale.”

Matthew and Mirshab shared the experiences of competing internationally with the young cyclists of the club.

Mirshab said: “It is hard work but with hard work, results come naturally.”

For next year, O’Ryan has identified five boys from Fresh Start to compete overseas. They are Diego Geldenhuys, Lucian Luyters, Jordan September, Amien de Klerk and Lakenzo Britton.

O’Ryan said: “It’s life-changing and not every child will get the opportunity to do this. The five that are going form Fresh Start will be ambassadors for Ocean View and show that people from here can do it!”

V Follow Ocean View - Fresh Start Cycling Club on Facebook for updates on the club’s activities.

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