MBDA Sport development programme bears fruits
2017-04-13 03:11:12 PM
07 Apr. 17 – The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) after
consultation with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality decided to pilot a
performance based Ironman triathlon development programme geared for
world champs in 2018. The agency put out a call for entries in February
inviting all interested previously disadvantaged athletes to submit
their biographies and 2016 race results for consideration. Six places
were made available with one reserved for a new entrant to the Iron
distance format. Over 20 entries were received and the best six (based
on race finish times) were appointed and fielded for the event on the
2nd of April.
“The concept of a development initiative is not
new and there are many fulfilling different mandates” says Luvuyo
Bangazi, MBDA Spokesperson and Ironman athlete. Bangazi elaborates “What
we set out to do differently was to create a platform that would give
space and an environment for athletes of colour to participate
competitively and on merit. The ultimate goal is to see some of these
athletes qualify to perform at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships here
in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2018”.
Athletes participate at an Ironman world championship event
through qualification from any of the nearly 100 70.3 events around the
world with South Africans getting an early chance as of the 2nd of April
on races held in South Africa.
The MBDA team of six received a boost in March when two times
Ironman Champion, former two times Age Group World Champion and Route 67
Brand Ambassador Kyle Buckingham spent a day with the athletes on all
three disciplines. Buckingham spent the day swimming, cycling, running
and motivating the athletes in preparation for the African Championship.
Three of the six athletes are under the strict training regimen
provided by 8 times Ironman Champion Raynard Tissink through his Team
Tissink Triathlon training squad.
The MBDA offered these previously disadvantaged athletes the best
opportunity to excel and gauge their performances against the best age
group athletes in the world and the results are looking positive. The
big improvements from the athletes are a sign that the programme is on
the right track.
“The presence of nearly 800 (nearly 38% of the field) European
athletes obviously made first attempt for 2018 qualification very
difficult but at the same time it gave a glimpse of what to expect come
World Champs. The first South African athlete of colour to hit the magic
carpet is none other than Siyabulela Jabu Mpengesi in 10hours and 23
MBDA is satisfied with the outcome and aims to
continue working with the City, providing the necessary support to
qualifying previously disadvantaged athletes in the Bay” concluded