Renowned cyclist Steve Nazombe shook off the challenge of 49 other competitors to emerge winner of the 14th Luwawa International Mountain Bike Race on Mzimba District’s Viphya Plateau on Saturday.
The competitors were drawn from local and international cycling clubs, with individuals also in the race.
The participants braved the mountainous fields and valleys of Luwawa Forest and it was Nazombe who was the first to conquer the rough country terrain.
Nazombe reclaimed the title after losing it to Missi Kathumba in last year’s event and conceded that it was a tough contest.
“I trained hard because it pained me very much when I lost the title last year. It needed some extra effort to win against such tough opponents. I am very happy to be champion again,” Nazombe said.
At one point, Nazombe was neck-and-neck with Mzuzu-based cyclist, Blessings Kumwenda, who came second at 2 hours 6 minutes against the winner’s 2 hours 4 minutes.
Kumwenda commented that he was proud to have won silver, saying his performance had raised the profile of his Mzuzu Cycling Club.
He vowed to continue working hard so that he dethrones Nazombe in next year’s contest.
Juliet Parient won the ladies’ category and she pocketed K150,000 just like Nazombe.
Organiser of the 53 kilometres event, Paul Kennedy, said the competition aims at benefitting local communities that do not have adequate resources for basic survival.
“We arrange these races as a way of giving back to the community. For instance, we have been providing school materials in the areas where the route of the race passes,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy added that the race is also a way of helping to develop cycling as a sport in the country.
A representative of official sponsor HTD/KIA Malawi, Nathan Thomas, thanked the participants for their interest in the race.
“As HTD, we are involved in different community development activities such as this mountain bike race. We believe this is a great initiative in helping the needy,” Thomas said.
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