A team of Nigerian Cyclists that just returned from a world cycling championships in France have urged the Federal Government and the Ministry of Youths and Sports development to support them with the latest modern bicycles to enhance their performance in international competitions.
Four Nigerian female cyclists arrived in Abuja on Tuesday, from the 111th UCI Track cycling World championship, also known as the 2021 TISSOT UCI Tracking World championship in Rouibax, France, which ended on Oct. 24, in France.
The cyclist told journalists that the bicycles they used in the competition in France was of low quality compared to those of the other cyclists they competed against.
Speaking on arrival, the team leader, Ukpeseraye Ese, said their performance was better when compared with their previous outing at the national track cycling in Cali, Columbia, in September.
” It’s not all about winning, it’s for us to go and score points to qualify for the Olympics and we did it successfully.
“The experience there was very tough as it was the very first time for us (Nigerians) to be at the world championships.
“We really tried our best in the competition, because we need to start gathering points ahead of the Olympics.
“If we are to start gathering points, we have to start from now on with scoring points with the Olympics coming up in 2024.
She lamented the challenges the team faced before they could travel for the championship.
“They didn’t allow us to travel from the airport right here, our President of the Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN) Giandomenico Massari, had to come to our aid and help us with the process before we could travel.
“When we got to Ethiopia they also refused us to head to France, the President had to come and intercede for us again. The challenges were very stressing.
” We also need the latest bicycles to have a better performance in subsequent events, we need the latest bicycles, we need aluminium and not the fibre bicycles that we are presently using, ” she said.
On her part, a member of the team, Grace Ayuba, said it was a tough competition, but that the team trained very well before its departure. It was a difficult experience for us compared to our previous Championship in Columbia.
“The president had been the only one supporting and sponsoring us, including our accommodation, feeding, equipment and our tickets.
“If we can get sponsorship from corporate bodies, individuals, the federal and state governments, I think we are going to do better in our subsequent competitions.
“We are number one in Africa and for the Nigeria team I’m number three cyclist at the Africa level” she said .
Mary Sunday, who echoed her colleague, said they needed sponsors to support them in their subsequent competitions, because the president cannot continue to stand alone as their sponsor.
Tawakalt Yekeen, another team member, noted that this was her first time to qualify for the Elite world championships, saying that Massari, the president of the federation, deserved commendation for all his efforts at ensuring that the team had a successful outing in France.
“He has passion for the sport; he is just trying his best to make sure we fight to get points, so as to qualify for the Olympics and do better.
“To qualify for the Olympics is not to sit down and be qualified, we are going to work for it and straight for it so that we could do better, ” she said.
Four-member team competed in five events including: Team sprint, Team pursuit and Elimination race by Tawakalt Yekeen; Ese Ukpeseraye, the team leader, competed in lndividual Pursuit, Team sprint, Team pursuit and the 500m race.
Mary Samuel competed in Team sprint and Team pursuit, while Ayuba Grace participated in team pursuit.