As of 2009 a formal development structure was initiated by GNT and with the assistance of Isaac Kolela, a local running and cycling coach, from Mamelodi township, Pta. Numerous young athletes were identified with potential to develop their skills in both cycling and running. Most of them being naturally talented in running the focus were shifted to the development of cycling skills and numerous sponsors were approached for possible assistance in this regard. Relationships were bred during this time, with several local cycling retails stores in the east of Pretoria assisting in parts, spares, helmets, wheels and the odd complete bicycle for the athletes to compete and train on a daily basis resulting in a steady improvement of their cycling skills.
After numerous swim coaching sessions hosted at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre (Hpc) in Dec 2010 and Jan 2011 a few keen prospective swimmers were identified and further coaching commenced during the season of 2011/2012.
The group of development athletes grew rapidly from just a few athletes to more than 23 registered GNT PDI athletes in 2012.
During the past four seasons GNT have been honoured to have both Duathlon and Triathlon national representation by the PDI athletes with some top honours going to some of the stronger athletes.
Currently in 2013:
With most of the PDI athlete focus laying in the east of Pretoria in Mamelodi the local municipal swimming pool was utilized during the summer months and development of the athlete’s skills was overseen by the local swim coach, with Isaac Kolela responsible for coordinating coaching times, transport and ensuring a safe environment for the athletes to train in.
Several PDI athletes were identified as good swimmers and more extensive sessions were arranged and paid coaching sessions were arranged at the local swimming pool. The extensive swimming sessions ran from Nov 2012 until March 2013 and is currently planned to start again in the warmer months of September and October 2013.
It has been through the swim coaching that GNT has been able to send Amos Bomba to two South African Triathlon championships to gain further experience in the sport.
With limited equipment and bicycles available to most athletes the challenge is normally overcome by athletes sharing bicycles during the week and then getting together over weekends and having the whole team share and get a chance to ride the available bicycles.
A few MTB were purchased during the past few months enabling the athletes to enjoy the off-road experience, however more assistance is required in this area.
During events the athletes normally compete in teams making the use of the available bicycles less of a challenge and allowing the whole team to compete at local events.
With the assistance of a local bicycle store dealer and a trailer the athletes with their bicycles have been able to get to all the local events and compete.
The concern of equipment and bicycles remain a challenge within the development of the sport.
With most of the athletes being natural runners, the development of the athletes remains constant.
However with the assistance of the local GNT coaches we have been able to identify that although the athletes can run, their lack of knowledge regarding nutrition, training sessions and structure, recovery times and maintaining a good overall running form have been identified as key performance development areas.
With this in mind it was decided that a list of potential athletes be allocated to the five qualified GNT coaches in the province and assist with the help of HPC in developing the overall skill and quality of athlete going forward. We look forward to the intervention and hope that this will assist the athletes in doing even better in future.
With the relocation of Isaac Kolela to Shoshanguwe Township in the North of Pretoria in the past month, further PDI development is planned and the identifying of additional athletes is underway.
A very safe and sport friendly open area, including swimming pool, has already been identified and may even result in hosting future PDI development events for the community. The open area is safe and available for off-road cycling and running and growing the GNT development program even further.
We are very positive and search for more support of the GNT PDI development program. It is very clear that the GNT PDI development program produces quality athletes and coaching with solid results stemming from Thabiso Komape, currently riding for the Exxaro MTB development squad competing in the ABSA Cape Epic in 2013 and the current SA Trail running champion in Thabang Madiba.
We hope that the growth of sport will deliver a worthy candidate for the sport of Duathlon and Triathlon in the near future and hopefully come from Gauteng North Triathlon.
We thank you once again for the opportunity and appreciate the ongoing assistance.