Dr. Theuns Eloff, vice-chancellor of the NWU, recently entertained several high-ranking people in cycling circles on the Campus. The managing member of the International Olympic Committee and president of the international cycling federation (UCI), Mr. Pat McQuaid, the president of the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (Saskok), Mr. Gideon Sam, as well as the senior manager of sponsorships of MTN South Africa, Mr. Bernard Pieters, amongst others, joined the visit.
Dr. Theuns Eloff, vice-chancellor of the NWU, in conversation with the president of the international cycling federation (UCI), Mr. Pat McQuaid.
The president of Cycling South Africa, Mr. Greg Till, and some of his senior management members were also present.
McQuaid said he is very impressed by the facilities he had seen on campus and the people he had met.
Mr. Frans Kruger at the NWU and former president of Fietsry SA, has been working very closely with the representative of the UCI in Africa, JP van Zyl, who has made a name for himself at international level in cycling , to get the Velodrome established at Potchefstroom.
Kruger says MTN has voted sufficient funding to begin the erection of the BMX course immediately and has also been approached to be the main sponsor of the Velodrome. The BMX course will be built first, since this is where cyclists’ skills are developed. A BMX course can be built within three weeks and costs a considerably smaller amount than the Velodrome, whereas the erection of the wooden course alone can take longer than a month or two.
Furthermore Kruger says the wooden cycling course will be built with Lotto funds according to plan as soon as a mutual agreement between the international body, Fietsry SA and the NWU is signed. Both bodies have already indicated in writing that they support the project.. Sam, who is also the chairperson of Lotto SA, has also confirmed Saskok’s support of the development.
Potchefstroom, according to Kruger, was chosen because the height above sea level is ideal for practising and training, the excellent accommodation and sport facilities of the NWU, and because the environment presents excellent opportunities for all cycling disciplines such as road, mountain, BMW and track.
The Africa Continental Cycling Centre was already established in Potchefstroom in 2006. They avail themselves of the NWU’s facilities and are supported by the University in several respects.
Kruger says a piece of land adjacent to the Rag Farm has been identified for the building of the courses and will eventually form part of the other sport facilities on the Fanie du Toit-sports fields. Both courses will comply with international standards, having a BMX course of 370 metres and a wooden cycling course of 250 meters.
Kruger says the course can be rented out for national en international cycling meetings, and such high-profile competitions will improve the NWU’s position on the cycling world map. Both courses can also be rented out to international cycling teams and countries as practising facilities, which will generate additional income for the NWU.