SA para-cyclists strike gold

2011-12-12 19:00

Johannesburg - South Africa's para-cyclists raked in six gold medals on the first-day of the 4th edition of the International Cycling Union (UCI) African para-cycling championship time trial race in Accra, Ghana on Saturday.

The time trial competitors raced on a 3.2km stretch on the Kanda Highway, forming a 6.4km lap.

For some of the team it was the first time they participated outside South Africa.

Young Madre Carinus, however, was considered a "veteran" at these events. Madre, who hails from Stellenbosch, represented her country on several occasions and provided stability to the newcomers on the team.

Madre and fellow tri-cyclists Keenan Bickle (Kimberley) and Yusthin Lintnaar (Paarl) as the only riders in their categories (T1 men, T2 men, T1 Women), created awareness of the sport among local residents. In the process, they scored valuable UCI-points.

Madre completed her one lap in 14 minutes and 30 seconds. Yustin raced his two laps in 24 minutes and 09 seconds (T2 men), while Keenan suffered a mechanical problem and was unable to finish his T1 race.

Andries Scheepers put on an impressive performance, racing in the H4 category. The Rustenburg local competed in the same category as current World Champion Ernst van Dyk, and completed his three laps in 31 minutes 37 seconds.

Thabo Sesing, a C4 participant from Kimberley, proved he was a force to be reckoned with and a talent worth nurturing for the 2016 Paralympics. Sesing completed his three laps in 32 minutes 44 seconds.

The tandem team of Lourens de Kock (pilot) and Francois Bezuidenhout raced in amongst five other teams in the B2 category.

Their SA team-mates and supporters held their breath after they broke several spokes during their laps, yet their outstanding performance still earned them a gold medal.

De Kock and Bezuidenhout clocked 41 minutes and 44 seconds.

Team captain James van Rensburg was superb in guiding his team and keeping them positive. James participated in the C5 class amongst three participants, finishing his three laps in 29 minutes 21 seconds.

Ghana gained the exclusive rights from the UCI to host this year's African Championship event, which would automatically qualify Team Ghana and other African countries, by accruing maximum points for the various athletes, for the 2012 London Paralympic Games.