Nigeria To Be Represented At World Track Cycling Championships For The First Time

By Bukar Bolori

Four Nigerian women cyclists would be representing the nation at the 111th World Track Cycling Championships holding at the Jean Stablinski regional indoor velodrome in Roubaix, France from 20 to 24 October 2021.

This will be the first time the country is going to be represented at the World stage, which would further provide the country an opportunity to qualifier for the next Olympic Games in the Sport.

The four cyclists, Grace Ayuba, Tawakalitu Yekeen, Ese Ukpeseraye and Mary Samuel, could have missed out on the tournament if not for the timely intervention of the French Embassy in Nigeria which ensured their visas were timely issued.
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The four Nigerian cyclists would be joined by an Egyptian cyclist in France as the participants from Africa.

The four cyclists, according to a statement at the weekend by the French Embassy in Nigeria, were hosted on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at the residence of the newly appointed French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mme Emmanuelle Blatmann.

The statement said the four talented young Nigerian women cyclists who were qualified to represent Nigeria at the 111th World Track Cycling Championships which will take place from 20 to 24 October 2021 at the Jean Stablinski regional indoor velodrome in Roubaix, France were accompanied by Giandomenico Massari, the President Nigerian Cycling Federation and Makpa Shamman, the secretary-general of the federation.

The statement added that: “This is was a monumental event as it is the first time in its history Nigeria has qualified for the World Cycling Championships, of which only 2 countries in Africa have qualified to participate in this event: Egypt with 1 participant and Nigeria with 4 participants who are all females.

“This shows the rise of this sport in the country and the enthusiasm it generates among the youth and with improved active women participation.”

The statement revealed that Roubaix is the third most populated city in the northern region of France and is a well-known city in the cycling world as it hosts one of the oldest races called: “the Paris – Roubaix” which has taken place every year since 1896. This will be the 16th time that France has hosted the World Track Cycling Championships and the first time since 2015.

The statement said: “Unfortunately, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, could not welcome the four women in person, as she is currently in isolation having just arrived in Nigeria last week. But she was ably represented by Mr Olivier Chatelias, the Deputy Ambassador of the French embassy in Nigeria and other delegates of the Embassy, who warmly welcomed the girls and the Nigerian Cycling Federation delegates.

“However, she sent words of encouragement to let the girls know that she was proud to welcome these four talented sportswomen and she wishes them good luck for the events to come.  And she hopes they will climb the steps of the podium, which they will share with the French of course!”

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