NAMIBIAN bicycle shop Cycletec has come on board as a co-sponsor of this weekend's Nedbank Kids Cycle Challenge and will be providing various prizes to the contestants.
The winning cyclist will receive a brand new mountain bike from one of Cycletec's main suppliers, Giant, to the value of N$3 000, while Cycletec will provide various other lucky-draw prizes like bicycle helmets, gloves, specially printed T-shirts and other accessories.
Cycletec owner Frank Bombosch said he had been approached by the race organisers, Windhoek Pedal Power, to co-sponsor the event and now aimed to become more involved in developing youth cycling.
"For the past two years we have been involved with the 'Kidz on Bikez' project that formed part of the Bank Windhoek Kids Funfare. I noticed that there was a lack of opportunities or structures for children aged six to ten, so I decided to get involved in a bigger capacity in the development of this category," he said.
Bombosch however said they rather wanted to emphasise participation and not the competitive element.
"We don't want to emphasise the competitive element, but rather the idea that each kid is a winner, so we will have a lot of prizes for all the children on a lucky-draw basis," he said.
The energetic Bombosch, who is also involved with the Kids Challenge at the Namibian Cycle Challenge, has big plans to develop children's cycling in Namibia.
"I will be involved on the WPP subcommittee for children's development and Cycletec is currently planning a cycle track for children in a safe environment, with supervision and specialised coaching," he said.
"We will have regular activity camps during school holidays, of which cycling will form one component. The camp will also include ball play and obstacle courses, with the aim of developing the basic movement skills of children. In the end, it's about giving the children confidence and independence and a sense of exploration," he added.
Bombosch's involvement with the Nedbank Cycle Tour has come full circle since the first race 28 years ago. On that occasion in 1986, Bombosch won the Swabank Cycle Race, as it was known then, as a 17-year-old schoolboy, beating 84 entrants to the line.
Bombosch went on to make an indelible mark in Namibian sport and developed into Namibia's leading triathlete for more than a decade.
In 1998 his dream to participate at the 2000 Olympic Games was shattered when he overtrained and failed to reach the qualifying standard, but this disappointment led to a life-changing experience when he resigned as a civil engineer and opened Cycletec.
"I reflected on my life after failing to qualify for the Olympic Games and decided to pursue my dream of opening a cycle shop and also to help develop cycling and multi-sport in Namibia," he said.
Since then Cycletec has developed into a leader in the industry, also in terms of cycling development. Over the years, the Cycletec team helped develop some of Namibia's top young cyclists who all went on to represent their country, like Marc and Carmen Bassingthwaighte, Lotto Petrus, Till Drobisch, Ermin van Wyk and Tjipe Murangi.
Now, a further 14 years down the line, Bombosch is keen to once again help develop junior cycling in Namibia.
"I failed to qualify for the Olympics because back then, there were no structures in place to assist talented young kids. Now I want to plough back my knowledge and experience and help develop Namibia's youth, so that they might have those opportunities," he said.
The Nedbank Kidz Cycle Challenge takes place on Saturday 16, February, starting at 14h00 at Windhoek Gymnasium Private School, while the registration will take place from 12h00 to 14h00.
Each rider who finishes the race will receive a medal from Nedbank as well as a goodie bag from NHP.