A common theme in Nigeria sports is the poor exposure of athletes to international competitions. Cycling and cyclists are not exempted
Some athletes fund themselves to international tournaments, some source for sponsors and some don’t even go at all. It is not different from professional cycling in Nigeria who also need to compete with other riders outside the country to gain exposure.
Emmanuel Onasanya, Rivers State cycling coach explained to ACLSports the importance of exposure to professional riders.
“The terrain is different from ours and when you are used to your own terrain, you can not compete favourably with other riders from other countries. It’s not enough to call yourself a professional rider and you don’t go for tours.”
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“We went to different countries this year and it was quite different from ours.At first, it was difficult for us to compete but gradually we got used to the surface .We have mountaineous, rocky, hilly, flat and smooth surfaces. Most surfaces we have in Nigeria are flat surfaces which is the one we are used to apart from places like Jos, Obudu cattle ranch, etc.”
Onasanya believes participating in international tours will help the riders achieve their goals as professional riders.
“I remember the tour in Egypt, Togo and Benin. In tour of Togo, Rivers state represented Nigeria, it was the second time we were going there and we did well coming third overall. Next place we went to was tour in Benin and we came out first because we kept on going for competitions which helps the riders achieve their goals.”