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Eritrean Cyclist Metkel Eyob Wins MTN Khemani Road Cycle Classic Race

By Sabelo Majola

CYCLING - MTN Qhubeka team cyclist Metkel Eyob Teweldeberhan from Eritrea won the MTN Khemani Road Cycle Classic race held at Mankayane yesterday.

The 23-year-old Eritrean, who last year came third in the same race, clocked 2:32:04:55 to be crowned the champion.

He beat fellow countryman and team-mate in last year’s winner Tesfome Issak Okubamariama, who came second after clocking 2:32:56:02.

The third position was occupied by South Africa international and MTN Qhubeka cyclist Myles Van Musschenbroek, who clocked 2:32:56:06.

It was tight towards the finish line as these enthusiastic cyclists were on each other’s heels.

The top five was completed by Heidi Dalton and Lynette Burger, who were the first and second females to cross the finish line after clocking 3:05:15:34 and 3:05:52:77, respectively.

Velo cyclist Linda Hoffler was the first Swazi female to cross the finish line as she clocked 3:36:25:18 whilst Similo Nyoni was the first Swazi male to cross the finish line.

Eyob said teamwork made him the winner and that the cool weather conditions worked to his favour.“Credit should go to my teammates. We worked as a unit and went on to win the race. The weather was so good and it was a great race. I was trailing behind for a long time but I started pushing hard in the last two kilometres until I was at the front and I eventually won the race”, he said.

Activate Demacon team cyclist and first female to cross the finish line, Heidi Dalton from South Africa said the race was very challenging because there was a lot of climbing and her team-mates gave her tough competition.

Dalton also said Swazis needed to develop the sport from the young ones if there were to obtain good results and meet the international standard. “It was a tough race; there was a lot of climbing and lots of wind. I think for Swazis to obtain good results in the sport, they should start developing young cyclists and give them all the support they need. They have awesome roads to train at so winning shouldn’t be a problem,” she said.

‘Cruiser’ calls for diversity in local sports

CYCLING - MINISTER of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala reckons that cycling should compete with football and be a main attraction in sports.

The minister was speaking yesterday during the prize presentation of the MTN Khemani Road Cycle Classic race winners.

Ngcamphalala thanked the main sponsor, MTN, and all other sponsors for putting together such an amazing event.

He also thanked local and international cyclists for honouring the event.

“Football is currently the biggest crowd-puller and most celebrated sport in the country and that mentality should change. Cycling should compete with football so that there will be diversity in sports hence giving individuals, who are not into soccer many options to embrace and employ their talents,” he said.

Ngcamphalala, who also participated in one of the races, said government, with the help of Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini was promoting other sports such as athletics, boxing and many others so that they meet the same level with football.

He made reference to Kenya, a country that was famous for marathon.

“This initiative is not just for competing but also to encourage a healthy lifestyle among Swazis. It will give people a chance to express their talent while also keeping them healthy and fit,” he added. Meanwhile, MTN CEO Ambrose Dlamini, speaking through Chief Marketing Officer Khulile Dlamini, said the company was proud to be associated with the third edition of the MTN Khemani Cycling Challenge. He said the attendance was humbling and further thanked the mayor and people of Mankayane for always welcoming them in the area. “Special acknowledgements go to the visiting cyclists, who drove all the way from their respective countries to be part of the event.

 “Your participation helps our local cycling community to learn and get exposed to professional tactics of cycling. We also thank the mayor and people of Mankayane for welcoming and allowing us to participate in the area,” he said. Khemani President Dr Futhi Dlamini said the primary purpose was for Mankayane to benefit from the race as 280 needy kids from the area received financial help from the money raised in the event.

He also thanked government as well as the title sponsor, MTN, for their support towards this initiative.
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Eritrean Cyclist Metkel Eyob Wins MTN Khemani Road Cycle Classic Race Reviewed by Admin on 1:51 PM Rating: 5

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