ZIMBABWE's cycling champion, Bright Chipongo raised the country's flag high at the Tsela Riders Criterium in Botswana on Saturday when he finished second. The event was an open race for athletes from across the world and participants took part in the 2,5km circuit with five laps.
Chipongo was the only Zimbabwean taking part in the race and he managed to finish second in 36 minutes 30seconds behind Spain's Bernando Ayuso who clocked 35minutes 30seconds.
Tebogo Blessing was third in 37minutes 30seconds.
Chipongo said the race was an opportunity to learn as he competed with some of the world's professional cyclists.
"It was my first time to compete in the race and the competition was much better compared to local races.
It was an open race with professionals from Europe and I had a good ride.
The only challenge I had was the heat because the temperatures are quite high.
"We need to improve in training and the other issue is that I did not have teammates around, I was alone but I hope next time we will have other guys taking part.
"It was a late invitation and we did not have the opportunity to send a big team. Most of the guys have not been training and were out of form, so I was the only one selected and I had to go and see how I would perform fortunately I came second," said Chipongo.
Chipongo lamented lack of competition on the local scene and said most of the time he has to compete outside the country.
"In Zimbabwe, unfortunately there isn't enough competition. Personally I rely on technology and top range equipment, after two or three months I travel to South Africa for assessment and that's where I get competition.
However, it's always difficult to travel around.
"I have been in cycling for eight years and I moved to Harare at the beginning of last year. I used to train in Mutare but since I moved to Harare I have seen some changes and I have managed to get exposure," said Chipongo.
The 25-year-old said the Botswana race is likely to be his last professional race for this year as the upcoming event is a social race.