Tenthani overcomes adversity

HARARE - Despite his underprivileged upbringing, Penias Tenthani has overcome the adversity and is focused on living his dream of becoming a professional BMX rider.

Born on June 2, 1996 in Nyabira, Tenthani, a biking enthusiast from an early age, never had the luxuries many kids of his age enjoy.

He however, was lucky to get a bicycle as a toddler, which he rode for long hours on end each day in the dusty roads of that farming community.

“My dad used to tie a rope on his bicycle to my small BMX whenever he would go to church, from then that bicycle became a part of me and I have just been riding since,” Tenthani said.

After relocating to Harare as a 12-year-old, it took the initiative of close friends for Tenthani’s dream to be given meaning.

Through the St Georges BMX club programme called “Bring A Buddie,” Dale Hanssen not only invited Tenthani to the club but gave him his mountain bike which was converted into a BMX.

“We dismantled the mountain bike so that it would remain with one gear to make it a makeshift BMX. I used it for a couple of months, but the chain kept coming off so no matter how good I started the race I always ended the race pushing my bike,” he recalls.

In his first year in competitive BMX championships, Tenthani came second in the Zimbabwe National Series in 2008 in the 12-year-old boy’s class before coming third in the 13-year-old Africa Challenge the following year. In 2010 he dominated regional events after coming first in the 14-year-old class of the South Africa National Series and fourth in the South Africa Grand National championships.

In the UCI BMX World Championships of that year, Tethani failed to last the distance falling in the first round of his category.

The biking enthusiast failed to travel for the 2011 UCI BMX World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark
owing to financial constraints.

This year has been good for Tenthani after clinching sports apparel deal with Faith Wear.

Faith Wear provide all his kit and leisure society.

Tragedy struck in April this year when Tenthani was preparing to showcase his skills at the 2012 UCI BMX World Challenge hosted in England.

Maxwell Masengere, who had pledged to fund the young rider’s welfare and travelling logistics for the three-day cycling festival was killed in an accident a month before the  championships.

“I was back to square one, it was sad to lose him,” he says.

“I also could not finish the BMX South Africa National series the previous year owing to financial constrains meaning I could not defend my title, but I just kept riding, I never stopped.”

Tenthani receives financial support from BMX enthusiast Wendy Hassen who this year rode for Britain at the just ended UCI BMX World Challenge.

He hopes to one day become a professional BMX rider just like his role model, Soweto-born rider Sifiso ‘Skizo’ Nhlapo who too battled an underprivileged upbringing to realise his dreams.

Comments (3)

Is this Maxwell Masengere former student of St Augustines Penhalonga?

Maria - 10 July 2016

Is this Maxwell Masengere former student of St Augustines Penhalonga?

Maria - 10 July 2016

yes it is the maxwell from st augustine

clive masengere - 18 April 2017

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