Wednesday, October 31, 2018 5:40 pm
A South African cycling instructor, Jean-Pierre Vanzyl, on Wednesday passionately appealed to the Federal Government and the Nigerian sports authorities to immediately fix the Abuja velodrome and avoid further decay.
Vanzyl told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that seeing a facility like the velodrome go to waste was breaking his heart.
“I was a track cyclist, and competed at the world championship level, but seeing a facility like the velodrome at the Abuja National Stadium go to waste breaks my heart.
“I wish we have such a facility like this in South Africa, but we don’t. It is probably the only facility of its standard in Africa,’’ he said.
The former track cyclist said he was at a loss on how gas cylinders came to be packed in the velodrome.
“Can we please remove it, so that we can use the facility for sports? The velodrome is not a storage room.
“It changes life and it will do more good than all those things that are presently in the inside of the velodrome, if we can use it.
“It will change people’s lives. It will change cycling in Nigeria, because you have talents here in this country. You have riders who can win medals at the Olympic Games.
“So, please let us use the facility, and for what it is meant for. I don’t know who I need to plead with.
“But if I need to plead with the President of this country (President Muhammadu Buhari) on what we need to do,’’ he said.
Vanzyl said it was criminal and a great injustice to cycling and the people of Nigeria to allow such a facility to waste.
NAN reports that the Cycling Federation of Nigeria recently said it was working towards the certification of the velodrome at the National Stadium by the Union Cycling Federation.
It has however added that the certification process was being delayed by the gas stoves stored in the velodrome by the Federal Government.
The stoves, which were allegedly purchased as election gifts by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team ahead of the 2015 elections, have been abandoned at the velodrome since then.(NAN)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)