'Umfurudzi Mountain Bike Challenge a success'

HARARE - The curtain came down at this year’s Mountain Bike Challenge held at Umfurudzi Park in Shamva yesterday with the organisers expressing satisfaction with one of the fast growing event on the sporting calendar.

The annual event which was hosted by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management  Authority (ZimParks) at their recreational facility at Umfurudzi Park and now in its fourth year attracted over 200 cyclists from across the country.

The three-day gruelling event which also attracted riders from across the boarders was also being used as a platform to qualify for regional games by the cyclists.

Acting manager at Umfurudzi Park Mukululi Ndlovu, who was also part of the organising committee lauded this year’s tournament saying: “We are happy with this year’s turnout, it was overwhelming. You will notice that it’s becoming one of the biggest cycling events on the calendar.

“We are in our fourth year and its growing big especially in as far as sports tourism is concerned. We are expecting more participants next year. We are also hoping to attract a lot of participants from outside the country.

“There are quite a number of participants who have wanted to come this year but failed to make it due to reasons beyond our control.

“We, however, expect more participants next year.”

Riders battled it out in the 12,5km, 25km, 30km and 54km races.

The Mountain Bike Challenge is one of the major cycling events hosted by the ZimParks together with the Greater Mapungubwe meet, a place which borders Zimbabwe and Botswana, where cyclists ride across the two countries as well as South Africa.

ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said : “We are hosting these events in most of our parks across the country to promote sports tourism as well as wildlife conservation.

“We want to ensure that we increase awareness to sustainably conserve our wildlife and ensure communities benefit from the same events.”

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