Household chores put Burundians on the path to success
For 19-year-old Adelphine Nimfasha, Burundian, regularly carrying more than twice her weight of rice on her father’s bicycle has proven to be excellent preparation – albeit unusual – to become a professional cyclist.
On Sunday, Nimfasha finished sixth in Africa’s first international women’s cycling competition after a crash cost her the lead she had held for most of the course.
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“I didn’t give up but got up, took my bike and finished the race,” said Nimfasha, who finished in the top three at national competitions in Egypt and Nigeria before the last one. competition, held in his home country.
His determination earned him the prize for “combativeness” in road cycling. Two Kenyans and one Ugandan won the top three prizes.
Cycling is gaining popularity as a sport in Burundi, where cycling is already a part of the lives of many. But resources are limited.
“The bikes are not … suitable. There is also a financial problem – organizing a training requires huge financial means to house and feed the participants for three or four months,” said Prosper Ngenzirabona, a trainer.
Cyclists hope Burundi’s decision to host the first African competition of its kind will help change that.
“We (the Burundian team) trained for three weeks, others for three months,” said Nimfasha, adding that more training would help the team to reach the podium.
Cycling has been important to Nimfasha since she was a child. In her hometown of Gihanga, women are not discouraged from riding them as they are in many other parts of the region.
“My parents would send me to fetch water and carry the rice from the fields to harvest and I could pack up to 150 or 120 kilos of rice. During this season my father could not hire other workers, I was the one providing the transport, “she said.
She hopes to be an internationally renowned athlete like Francine Niyonsaba, the Burundian runner who won silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and broke a 2,000-meter world record in September this year.
“Now I want to become for cycling what Niyonsaba is for athletics.”