Track cycling in South Africa is growing and avid supporters of the specialist discipline are working together to bring about positive growth across the regions and provinces. According to Cycling SA Track Commission Director, Johan Smith, the future success in cycling lies in the track discipline. He says: ‘It is a highly technical sport, which requires a solid structure in order to run at its optimum and this starts at club level. We want to grow the sport by getting more clubs involved. Track cycling depends on structure and it needs to be run in this manner from club level, through to provincial, national and international level. Each unit must run on the same programme to experience the benefits of this specialised discipline, and it is unique in that it must be run on competitive principles.’
By growing the number of riders through growing the number of clubs, Smith believes that Cycling SA will be able to increase their national footprint, providing a bigger base to work off and increasing our chances of creating champions. Track cycling has experienced its fair share of challenges with infrastructure being the major hurdle in the progression of the sport. Smith says: ‘We battle with cycle tracks, but there are some that are lying dormant at this stage.’
Limpopo is experiencing a revived interest in track cycling as the local university intends to use a relatively dormant track to bring this type of cycling back to life in the area. Renewed interest will lead to the development of a track cycling club in Limpopo and will also offer a suitable platform to host training clinics as well as to train coaches who will in turn train the cyclists. There are currently three cycle tracks in Port Elizabeth alone with only one in regular use.
With a growing interest, clubs will soon be introduced to each of these tracks. Smith says: ‘The beauty of track cycling is that each venue can accommodate a few clubs, it is not limited to one club per track. Then we will see growth in the sport and in time, the need for other tracks will arrive. The growth in track cycling is very positive. For the first time in three years we will have a new track director in the Eastern Cape, which bodes well for the sport in the area. It used to be dormant until now. We have some really positive people getting involved in the administration, particularly in KZN, Gauteng, Free State and Western Cape. They are pulling together and making a difference in the sport.’
Photo credit: Craig Dutton/pics2go.co.za