Team Absa's Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy rider William Mokgopo earns the prestigious Amabubesi medal at Absa Cape Epic 2014
Today Team Absa's Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy rider William Mokgopo completed his third Absa Cape Epic, earning himself a prestigious Amabubesi medal.
In Zulu, Amabubesi means 'pride of lions' and is the name of the club made up of riders who have completed the Absa Cape Epic at least 3 times, because it takes the heart of a lion to be able to do this.
Discovered in 2006 by the Diepsloot MTB Academy, the young star is quickly climbing his way to MTB fame. This week Cycling SA announced that William has been selected to represent South Africa in the Elite U23 XCO Team for the MTB XCO World Cup taking place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, in April this year.
This year William was partnered with SuperSport and Metro FM presenter Owen Hannie, who completed his fifth Absa Cape Epic today.
On the finish line of the Absa Cape Epic at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, Western Cape, William said of his race experience: "I actually learned that it gets tougher as you go.
Fortunately I got stronger as time went by. And it feels really good - Owen Hannie was helping me and encouraging me along the way and I think I redefined my strength. Thanks to Owen and Absa for the opportunity we got this year."
Says Owen, "There were plenty of trials and tribulations along the way and we learnt about each other - we have a great partnership.
"I must say thank you Absa for giving us this opportunity to ride together and the opportunity to impart some of the information that I've accumulated over the years on to William. I think he's a star in the making. "
Team Absa's Owen Hanne and William Mokgopo overall results:
Owen Hannie and William Mokgopo completed Stage 7 in 4:05.01 - 102nd overall
Diepsloot is an area of extreme poverty with 60-70% of its 150 000 population unemployed, and more than one third under the age of 25. Started in 2008, the aim of this non-profit organisation is to empower the youth of the community through the sport of mountain biking.
The Diepsloot MTB Academy currently has about 50 regular attendants (35 boys and 15 girls) ranging from 9 to 20 years old.
This year the academy is the chosen charity of Team Absa. For every stage that Team Absa rider completes, Absa has committed to donating funds to the academy.