Professional cycling team, Team Abantu proudly welcomes new signing, Soweto-born Oupa Maluleke. Twenty-two-year-old sprinter Maluleke began his cycling career at the age of 16. Since then, with the support of family, Bradley Smith, and Roberto Gnudi of Panda Sportswear, who heads up a development training programme, he has proved himself to be a serious contender on the SA professional circuit.
Team Abantu is managed by Dean Edwards, a former South African professional cyclist, who is delighted to welcome Malukeke from the team’s development arm, Team Panda, which has recently been renamed the Abantu-Panda National Cycling Academy.
Gnudi comments, "Oupa first worked in our factory doing a number of jobs to advance to riding for our development team, so we are proud to see Oupa develop to the next level of the sport. Our primary goal is for our riders to get onto a pro team and we will watch his progress closely with much pride and anticipation. Team Abantu's record for developing riders and giving them an opportunity speaks for itself and I'm sure Maluleke is a name we will be hearing often in the near future."
This announcement is a major move in this young cyclist’s career. Inspired by fellow-team member Nolan Hoffman, and others, Maluleke was determined to eschew the most popular sport – soccer – in favour of cycling, and to rise above the challenges facing the township youth. Pursuing his training and cycle development successfully, he overcame the challenges of developing and competing without the assistance and support of a professional team.
This decision to invite Maluleke to join them is in keeping with Team Abantu’s mission, which is to focus on professional development and transformation, and to launch the careers of young, aspiring professional cyclists, while pursuing victories both in South Africa’s premier races and in international events. Their vision is to produce Africa’s first world champion on the track, while identifying, developing, and nurturing South Africa’s top young cyclists through internationally recognised events.
Comments Edwards, “We are delighted to welcome Maluleke on board. His decision to join our team means that we exceed Cycling SA’s stipulated quota of a minimum of two black riders per team, making Team Abantu truly reflective of the People’s Team of South Africa. However, he has not been selectedfor quota reasons but for his passion, potential and commitment to the sport and the strength and value he brings to the team. He has overcome many challenges in his life and Team Abantu is the ideal platform to launch Oupa’s career."
A delighted Maluleke adds that he is encouraged by this move, which is a dream come true, and he hopes to raise the flag at many local and international events both for the team and for the people of South Africa.
Visit www.teamabantu.com for Maluleke’sbiog and pledge your support to this rider’s dream and the team.
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