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After spending seven days touring the length and breadth of Lagos State, the Nigeria leg of the Cycle for Hope Tour entered Abuja last Tuesday with pomp and pageantry.
The Cycle of Hope tour which was tagged “The Ultimate Cycle”, was an initiative of the Ambassador in Sports (AIS), is an international charity organization having its headquarters in the United State of America.
The tour which commenced in Tangier, Morocco, on December 7, 2009, will see the cyclists cycling the length and breadth of Africa, covering 15,000kilometres and culminating in Cape Town, South Africa on June 10, 2010.
According to some of the cyclists, most of who are from European countries, the money raised from the tour will be used to build a ‘Hope Football Academy’ in Nigeria.
The team which is made up of cyclists from Europe and Nigerian cyclists commenced the Abuja tour after the Minister of Sports, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, flagged off the tour at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja. The team moved in a guarded tour of the FCT in company of cyclists from the 36 states of the federation.
While expressing surprise at the harsh weather condition being faced in Nigeria, most of the cyclists who passed though Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Kogi expressed happiness and satisfaction with the way they have been received in every part of the country they have visited on their bicycles.
A cyclist from Northern Ireland, Judith Bashir, said although she is not a professional cyclist, her love for sports, Africa and God made her go extra miles to raise fund for the tour.
“The trip has been very tough, but rewarding. Africa is a very good country and I love to serve God. When I had about the tour, I was moved to raise money for the tour. It is good interacting with African people and knowing their different cultures. Most especially, I am happy to be part of the cyclist wanting to raise money to build football academy in Africa countries,” Judith said.
Stewarg, also from Northern Ireland, said he worked very hard to save money required for the six months tour, adding that the weather in Nigeria and some parts of Africa they have visited is very harsh, compared with the weather of their countries.
The President Cycling Federation of Nigeria, Alhaji Mohammed Bunu Sherif, congratulated the cyclists for the doggedness and dedication to ensuring that hope is given to the hopeless and the downtrodden in the Africa.
The national Cycling Coach, Mohammed Bashir, said that the federation is doing a lot to popularize the sport in Nigeria, saying school competitions are being organised to discover hidden talents.
“We have decided to go to secondary schools, especially the private owned ones. Then we will start with BMS bicycles, because the other one that is very expensive. We want to start organising school competition with the aim of catching the abundant talents we have in Nigeria while they are still very young,” Bashir stated.