…young cyclist attributes success to fatherly support, training
The young aspiring cyclist Kabelo Makatile is on the route to curving his future through pedalling.
The 19-year-old who is leading a new generation of cyclists in Lesotho discovered his passion for the road at the tender age and attributes all his successes to his father who moulded his cycling career.
The starlet born and raised in the outskirts of Maseru on March 21, 2003, remembers his toddler years when he tirelessly would watch his father riding a bicycle, which was when the love for the sport crept-in.
He related how he got into cycling in an exclusive interview with Newsday Sports this week saying the sport runs in his family. He shared his journey that his father shaped his path as he would continuously push him to practice.
“From when I was very young, probably a toddler I was already riding a bicycle, and as time went, I realized that my father was a cyclist and he made sure that I always had a bicycle and training hard,” Makatile said.
“I can boldly say the love for cycling was instilled in me by my father who when I was only 5-years-old had already bought me my first bicycle and taught me how to ride.”
For most young boys, it is often a difficulty in choosing their right sport in their early childhood, exploring different sporting codes particularly those who grew up in the villages. But the propensity never affected Makatile who discovered his passion in cycling at a tender age. This meant he never had the desire to try any other sport but to always go for his bicycle while the majority of other boys in the village would stumble upon finding the right sport.
He was enrolled in his first competition at the age of eight in 2011 and started to dominate all the races in his category and age.
The young cyclist competes in two types of races; Cross Country and Mountain Bike (MBT) although he prefers road racing due to its familiarity to him.
“Between the two races, I have always preferred road race cross country because it is what I grew up doing from a very young age. I used to ride alongside older people so the MBT was quite challenging for me,” he said.
Since 2013 when he competed in his first Championship he has managed to take first position and continued to dominate amongst his category. He is currently the national Under-23 Champion.
With the 2022 Bermingham Commonwealth Games fast-approaching, Makatile’s target is to make it to the Games and perform well.
“For now I am only focusing on the Commonwealth Games which is my main goal this year then my future goal is to be riding for professional teams overseas,” Makatile said.
He recently returned home from a two-month cycling camp held at the World Cycling Centre (WCC) following an initial two months spent at the Centre in 2021 from October to December with a scholarship awarded by the Union Cyclist International (UCI). The scholarship paved way for him to compete in various competitions where he received world class training.
He showed his mettle at the Atlantic Cycle Challenge where he came triumphant in the 60km circuit round race during his first stint in Cape Town.
He said the camp helped him grow a lot but comparing last year’s camp to this year he struggled to get position one due to being placed in an Under-23 category which proved to be more challenging.
The rider said finding his love for the sport early on and deciding to focus on it helped him a lot and that is his advice for any young aspiring athletes.
“I would encourage young aspiring athletes to focus on one sport code and hone it, train hard every day and not pay attention to other things that could be a distraction,” Makatile said.