The Kansanshi Cycling Story
During the early years of his tenure as Assistant General Manager at Kansanshi Mining PLC, Meiring Burger would ride recreationally at the weekend with fellow cycling enthusiasts including Anthony Malambo. They noticed during these rides that there were a lot of young people in the community who had very little to do, and that there were very few organised sports on offer. This sparked the idea to encourage youngsters into the sport of cycling and so provide them with new opportunities.
So began the Kansanshi Cycling Development programme, with the full blessing and support of the Zambian Cycling Association. The Association's president, Peter Chintu, encouraged his son Bright to put his UCI training camp experience to good use in becoming the first coach of the Kansanshi Cycling Development team. Joseph Daka, a fellow weekend cycling partner, became assistant coach.
At KMP's request, the Solwezi Council of Elders identified approximately 20 children for the Programme, all aged about 16 years old and who excelled as athletes in their respective schools. These athletes were tested over a period of two months: they had to report diligently every day to the Kansanshi Foundation offices for training, and they ran every day - starting with 4kms and building up to 8kms. Over that time, the group whittled down to about 10 athletes, who were then provided with bicycles. Training then continued on bicycles, with Meiring, Anthony and other KMP cyclists joining the training rides at weekends.
The programme continued to grow from strength to strength, with the cyclists not only excelling at locally run Kansanshi events, but also dominating other local Zambian races, and then representing Zambia at regional and international events. Read about some of their cycling successes here and about other successes related to the programme, here.