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Exxaro donated 26 mountain bikes to Mabalane Seleka Technical School in Lephalale. Pic Supplied

Mountain Bike Academy develops talent

As a major aspect of their drive to make bicycle riding available to disadvantaged communities, the South Africa’s biggest coal excavator Exxaro gave over 26 mountain bikes to Mabalane Seleka Technical School in Lephalale.

The handover function was on Friday attended by Exxaro Grootegeluk Specialist Community Development, Rosemary Mthimunye and Grootegeluk Business Unit Manager Johan Wepener..

Exxaro’s Manager for Environmental Authorisations and Mineral Rights Malusi Buthelezi said the handover was the most recent donation by Exxaro’s Grootegeluk Kids-on-Bikes programme aimed at empowering bicycle riding and developing talent for Exxaro’s Mountain Bike Academy.

In a statement on Monday, Buthelezi said the Exxaro Mountain Bike Academy provides riders from disadvantaged communities with the opportunity to compete in prestigious races like the Absa Cape Epic.

The 2018 Absa Cape Epic Exxaro Special Jersey winners Lucky Mlangeni and Tshepo Tlou sent a message of support..

An energetic cyclist Buthelizi, said the activity was conceived when the mining bunch purchased 20 bikes for school kids from hindered foundations while providing maintenance, transport and convenience.

“Exxaro needed to make mountain biking aggressive and available. The pilot competition running for the third year at Tielelo Secondary School during which two of their students were nominated to represent Limpopo Province in national Spur Series races. We’re excited  to keep the ball rolling with phase 2 of our programme by partnering with a new school, Mabalane Seleka Technical School with our Grootegeluk Coal Mine,” said Buthelizi.

Buthelezi said that youthful cyclists who exceed expectations in the Kids-On-Bikes program get the chance to join the Exxaro Mountain Bike Academy, including they will also get the opportunity to compete nationally, and potentially joining  proficient teams to take their cycling profession to the next level.

He points out that while not every rider want to participate to become a professional cyclist, admission into the Academy provides members with a host of other opportunities to uplift themselves and their communities.

“Most of these kids never get the chance to study further than matric.

However, through exposure to competitive cycling and their involvement in the Exxaro Mountain Bike Academy, they can access an individual development plan that sees Exxaro sponsoring these riders for tertiary degrees and diplomas,” said Buthelezi.

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