By JOHN CHOLA
The FQM Mine2Mine road race took place at the weekend of March 27, 2022 with more than 90 riders including visiting South African ace Anriette Schoeman competing.
The race was divided into the 23 km, 75 km and 140 km categories.
Rosemary Mumba received the overall mixed prize in the 23km category followed by Paul Kabali in second position and Mary Kalibuku in third spot.
In the 75 km category, female Radel Johnstone triumphed followed by Magret Ngoma and Luwi Chikamba.
Lewis Matende bagged the 75 km male overall prize followed by Gift Kasito in second place and Christopher Muke in third position.
Visiting South African supremo Anriette Schoeman pulled off an outstanding performance cycling neck-to-neck with male riders from start to finish, a display that clearly positioned her top overall female rider of the tournament in the 140 km tussle.
She shared the podium with Kirsten McDonald who was second overall in the category while Fiona McDonald and Lizelle Hudson grabbed the third prize overall.
Sean Egner, Justine Banda and Peter Zulu dominated the km veterans’ 36–49 male category to take third, second and first slots respectively. The female category first prize went to Anriette Schoeman whose second was Lizelle Hudson.
Fiona McDanald proved unmatched in the 140 km Masters 50 And Over female category with only the tenacious Sharonne Watt coming close in second spot to walk away with memorable medals and handsome prizes.
Charles Mujayi fronted fierce and promising Gift Puteho in the 140 km junior males while Kirstin McDonald sailed comfortably to the top position in the 140 km junior females, adding to her long list of medals and prizes.
This year’s 140 km Masters 50 years And Over male was conquered by determined Gift Mweemba who edged marvellous and not-easy-to-overshadow Johan Conradie into second position and swift David Kalange in third place.
Cycling Association of Zambia (CAZ) President Andrew Chibuye, who graced this year’s event and also emerged among the top riders in the veterans 36 to 49 years males, described the Mine2Mine FQM Race as “an epitome of cycling renaissance in Zambia.”
Spectators young and old, men and women lined up sections of the largely rural 140 kilometres starting from Solwezi to Kalumbila.
Race Organizer, Ryan Ellis hailed Chibuye’s commitment to the game noting that the PwC Country Senior Partner shared credit for the ongoing transformation of cycling in Zambia that has been witnessed in the last over two years.
Ellis said Chibuye’s national cycling management team had brought in support for cycling from corporate sponsors, government agencies and the general public that was necessary part of making the sport a big industry that Zambians would love to see become.
Chibuye extolled FQM for being one of the few corporate entities that had over the years helped to promote cycling and turn it into a regular and popular sport in the country, culminating into the national champion tournament held in 2021.
“Now we have a calendar which spells out all the cycling events in a year and we are already getting partners interested in these activities. We are now affiliated to the global, continental and national sports councils and bodies with fully paid up memberships,” Chibuye said.
Anrette described the Mine2Mine road race as a well-organized and excellent tournament with the potential to help propel riders to highly competitive events even at international level.
“I feel it’s a brilliant job. I enjoyed the race, the distance makes it hot. Even if you are not 100 per cent fit you can actually enjoy this race. The challenge in the race is not how long it is but the guys here are used to things like riding long distances, it’s got a lot of elevation but it’s completely doable for anyone, it was a really enjoyable race.”
Ellis paid tributes to FQMO Roads Department for sponsoring prizes, logistics and flights for guests
He also thanked Prudential Insurance for partnering with FQM supporting the game with prize money for riders.
Other sponsors of the tournament include Epiroc and Trident Kalumbila Foundation
Ellis said part of the money raised from various sponsors of the 2022 race would go towards cyclists visiting the communities surrounding the FQM mines to fix their bicycles. This was intended for people in villages who lacked access to spare parts and knowledge of bicycle repair.