Cape Town, January 19, 2011
Khayelitsha cyclist Songezo Jim (20) has become the second Life Cycling Academy/Velokhaya cyclist to join South Africa's number one road cycling team.
He follows in the footsteps of his former teammate, Luthando Kaka, who joined Team Medscheme (now Team Bonitas) last year. Kaka and Jim are the only two Western Cape cyclists in the 10 man, Johannesburg-based team.
The move to Johannesburg is an important one for Jim, who discovered his talent for cycling five years ago when he rode a bike for the first time. "I see my relocation to Gauteng as a step closer to achieving my dream of becoming a professional cyclist on the world stage. "Being a member of Team Bonitas will not only give me the opportunity to compete in more national races, but more importantly, it will also allow me to ride with more experienced riders and to compete in more international events."
He is also looking forward to spending more time in the company of his new team mates, Malcolm Lange, Johann Rabie, Luthando Kaka, Hanko Kachelhoffer, Neil Macdonald, Waylon Woolcock, Jason Bakker, Gawie Combrink and Tyler Day. "It will be a privilege to be their teammates and I am also looking forward to testing out my new equipment, sponsored by the top companies such as Pinerello Dogma (bicycle), Sidi (shoes), Rudy Project (helmets) and USN (supplements)".
Jim paid tribute to the Life Cycling Academy/Velokhaya organization and the role it has played in his cycling successes. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the support I received from Velokhaya. The organization has, despite its lack of funds, given me every possible opportunity to prove my talent to others; it has encouraged me to work hard and achieve success, both on and off the bike. "Velokhaya and its sponsors also made it possible for me to travel to France in 2008. Watching Carlos Sastre win the Tour de France and meeting my cycling hero, Fabian Cancellara, was a turning point for me; it motivated me to take my cycling more seriously and to work even harder to achieve success."
Glyn Broomberg, CEO of the Life Cycling Academy/Velokhaya, said Jim's appointment to Team Bonitas is yet another proud moment in the history of the organization. "We hope his move to Team Bonitas will encourage companies and sporting bodies to support Velokhaya and help us unlock the depth of cycling talent in South Africa's townships."
Jim, who was raised in Umtata, the Eastern Cape before moving to Masiphumelele in 2005, says cycling has taught him the values of determination and perseverance. "It has taught me to never give up without a fight," he says.