Proactive fundraising by several members of the newly-selected junior national road cycling team means that their goal of competing in Europe is within sight.
Cycling South Africa named a nine-man team in May for a selection of junior races leading up to the worlds in Norway, but due to the governing body’s self-funding policy, those selected were required to cover their own costs.
Five of the riders – who race for the Nelspruit-based Infinita team owned and managed by Bosseau Boshoff – took destiny in their own hands by deciding to raise the required funds as a group.
Boshoff said they started a month ago and had set a target of around R100 000, an amount that would help ensure all five could go on the European tour.
“For each individual going to Europe, you’re looking at around R35 000 to cover the plane ticket, accommodation and car rental.”
Despite every effort being made to find the cheapest options, Boshoff said it was likely that parents would still have to contribute towards the overall cost.
The team had also approached the national body for funding, but he said they had yet to hear if their application had been successful.
“The problem with them is that nothing happens quickly as it has to go through all the correct channels but hopefully we’ll hear from them this week as we’re now into the last 30 days before the boys fly,” he said.
Efforts to garner funding from clubs had also proved fruitless and none of the boys had received any sort of contribution, said Boshoff.
One of the team’s final major fundraising efforts will be a golf day at the Nelspruit Golf Club next Thursday.
Boshoff said there had been a positive response from the community and they had been successful in attracting a good number of four-balls.
“At this point we’ve raised probably just short of R70 000, but I think after the golf day we should pass that mark.”
Callum Ormiston, one of the Infinita riders, said the costs involved had been a concern for him upon his initial selection.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy so that’s why the team and our parents got together and decided that we’d try everything we could to make sure everyone could go on the tour.”
The 16-year-old said the team had run raffles, food stalls and made use of crowd funding to reach their target.
“Basically we’ve been trying to do anything we can think of to raise money,” he said.
Teammate Ryan Terry said he hoped the golf day would help make up some of the difference still needed to fund the team.
“After placing third at SA Champs, it was one of my goals to be selected for this team,” said Terry, who, like Ormiston, is in his first year competing as a junior.
“This will be my first time riding overseas so I’d like to just get that experience and hopefully qualify for the world team that will compete in Norway later this year.”
Cycling South Africa had confirmed all nine of those selected will compete in Europe.
To see how you can assist the team, go here.