MTB Olympian Hatherly eager for first race back on home soil

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South African Mountain bike Olympian Alan Hatherly has recently returned from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil and will be heading to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to tackle the 2016 edition of the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash on Saturday 27 August. Entries for the event are open, and close at midnight tonight (Wednesday 24 August 2016).

20-year-old Hatherly, who represents Kargo Pro Cycling Team, is still abuzz with wonder and awe as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games curtain drew to a close at the weekend, but is looking forward to racing back on home soil. “Coming back from Rio with a solid result, I think, will definitely give me the upper hand because I know I've got the form to do really well,” he added.

The KwaZulu-Natal local is eager to take to the trails of the Midlands Meander, even though he is yet to test out this race. “It'll be my first time racing the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash, but I've heard lots of good stories about the event. That alone has got me excited to get out there,” he said.

The significance for Hatherly as a young South African athlete taking part in such a momentous event is rather special for him. He said: “Racing for my country and in honour of our country’s heroes is always something I love to do with pride. So definitely, racing the Mandela Dash will be a good day out.”

Kargo Pro Cycling Team Manager, Shaun Peschl, said: “We’re quite excited to have Alan back in the country after his amazing result in Rio, which made us and the rest of the country really proud. The plan was always to come and do the Mandela race immediately after Rio, whether Rio went as planned or not.”

Peschl was also thrilled to mention the team’s back-to-back wins over the past two years. “Having Alan represent us on the day with Andrew Warr, Hayley Smith and Frankie du Toit is our way of giving back to some of the events as well. Bringing an Olympian to the races, we know, can add value to a lot of these events. So we hope that it has an effect of a few more people coming out to see Alan and have a chat to him. He’ll definitely be available to chat to before and after the event,” said Peschl.

Peschl will also be bringing between three and five riders from the GO!Durban Cycling Academy to take part in the event. The recent KwaZulu-Natal Youth Development camp that took place last month, saw members of the GO!Durban Cycling Academy taking part. Skills learned at the camp will now be able to be put to the test as the young riders gear up for the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash.

The Academy supports the growing needs for increased mobility in the eThekwini Municipality, and has partnered with Kargo Pro Cycling Team in order to introduce young members of the eNanda communities to the sport of cycling.

The GO!Durban Cycling Academy has provided safe environments for the youth to ride in, bringing them together through sport, whilst also introducing those interested to competitive side of bike riding.

The Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash takes place at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site on Saturday 27 August. The mountain bike event forms part of the greater Mandela Day Marathon sports festival over the same weekend. Not only will the essence of Madiba draw the crowds, but also a lucrative prize purse, which will be an added bonus to the already incredible event.

Online pre-entries for the Mandela Day Marathon MTB Dash are open, and close on Wednesday 24 August. Late entries will be accepted at registration, which is at Olympia Hall, Royal Showgrounds, Pietermaritzburg from 11:00-17:00 on Friday 26 August, and at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site from 06:00-07:30 on race day, Saturday 27 August.

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