Old Mutual sponsored N$30 000 to the All Black Girls team participating in the 18th edition of the Nedbank Desert Dash, with more than 900 riders who have signed up for one of the world’s most gruelling cycling events, covering about 400 kilometers.
The event takes place on 9 Decemberin Windhoekand ends the following day in Swakopmund.
The executive officer of Old Mutual Wealth, Wikus Fourie and the executive marketing of public affairs and sustainability, Mignon du Preez handed over the sponsorship at the Old Mutual Tower in Windhoekon Friday .
The All Black Girls team, which is solely made up of women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, will compete at this year’s Nedbank Desert Dash for the first time. The team consists of four riders Jacky Shipena, Sofia Simon, Winnie Mukupuki and Vicky Dan.
Du Preez said that the sponsorship is for transport, equipment and the preparation of the movement that they are running under the theme of inclusivity and aspiration of a black girl’s child.
She added that they are proud of sponsoring the team not because of race but rather about perseverance and what the team has shown.
“We are happy to be part of this historic event involving the first black girls’ team. They never give up; they have put in enough time and effort to be ready for the dash,” she said.
Vicky Dan, the team leader said that the biggest challenge was finding an all-black girls’ team that is worthy of finishing the ridebecause the Desert Dash is about “training, commitment and hard work.” The team is hoping to inspire those who feel that it is difficult to ride a bike, she added.
“We are working women but because cycling is a passion for us, we make time and train for this event as the goal is to achieve the impossible,” Dan said. “Being an all-female team taught us about sisterhood and commitment, as well as understanding ourindividual capabilities.”
“When I participated last year I discovered that no black women teams participated.So I set a goal for myself to have an all-black team as part of inclusion for this year’s race,” Dan said.
The Nedbank Desert Dash is the longest single-stage mountain bike race in the world, where cyclists are given 24 hours to complete the 393 km race through the Khomas Hochland Mountains and the Namib Desert to the coastal town.
Cyclists from 17 different countries will take part in this year’s Nedbank Desert Dash, including The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, USA, Germany, Canada, Germany, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Botswana, Malawi, DR Congo, France and Austria.