Samoa welcomed as newest member federation
The International Cycling Union (UCI) at its recent annual assembly in Harrogate, Great Britain, formally adopted the affiliation of the Samoan Cycling Federation as its newest member. The UCI now boasts 196 member federations of which Oceania are represented by ten; Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Samoa, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
Samoa Cycling Federation President, Seti Afoa, was in Harrogate to receive the certificate of membership in person from UCI President, David Lappartient.
Cycling advocates for inclusion in Pacific Games
Oceania Cycling and its member national federations have been advocating directly with prospective bidding countries for consideration to be included in the 2027 Pacific Games sport program. Cycling was last in the Pacific Games in 1995 in Papeete, Tahiti, but participation in the sport in the Pacific since then had dropped off. However, over the last six years membership has grown from four to 10 member federations today. Cycling is a major international sport that has been in every modern Olympic Games since 1895. The UCI currently has over 1,000,000 registered riders across the globe. If successful in being re-introduced to the Pacific Games in 2027, it is proposed to conduct cycling events in the Road and Mountain Bike disciplines.
BMX Pacific program kicks-off
Oceania Cycling was successful in its submission of a joint application for four of its Pacific federations – Fiji, Guam, Cook Islands and Tahiti – to obtain Solidarity Funding from the UCI to lay the foundations for a new initiative; BMX Pacific. Bicycle Motocross (BMX) has been identified by member federations as the ideal discipline to get kids on bikes and help to establish an active lifestyle, embracing a fun family activity, an alternate transport option, and a potential sport pathway all the way through to the Olympics. The funding in the first instance is being directed to the purchase of BMX bikes as well as some seed funding to help initiate development of BMX track facilities.
BMX Freestyle Oceania Championships
While on the subject of BMX, the Oceania Cycling Confederation has recently confirmed the staging of the first ever Oceania BMX Freestyle Championships, to be held in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday 7 December. BMX Freestyle is one of the newest sports to be added to the Olympic Games program, where it will make its debut in Tokyo in 2020.
Oceania Cycling has also invested development funding into BMX Freestyle to fund officiating and judging courses to underpin its development as a new Olympic cycling discipline. The courses have been conducted under the administration of Cycling Australia in Brisbane in October and Melbourne in November.
OCC 2019 Pacific Scholarships
Oceania Cycling was pleased to have provided scholarship programs for three of its national federations in 2019. The aim of these scholarship are to provide opportunity for riders and officials to experience the sport at Tier 1 level in Australia and New Zealand, and to be able to take those experiences back to their national federations.
Two Tahiti mountain bike (MTB) riders were supported to attend the Oceania Championships in Northern Victoria last April. This was the first time that Tahiti had sent riders to Oceania, and the athletes Toanui Gobrait and Rainui Galenon Sun (pictured left) gained significant experience and learnings to take back home to the Tahitian MTB community.
Young Fijian Road Champion, Jone Takapi (below left), spent two weeks in Australia as a guest of the Goulburn Cycling Club in New South Wales in September. As part of the scholarship Jone was billeted by the club, experienced training and preparation for competition, contested two races, received testing at the University of Canberra, visited the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney, and had a new riding experience as well as experiencing some local culture. It was a very successful exchange.
Samoa Cycling are also to receive support to enable one of their cycling community to be trained as a bike mechanic in a course developed by the UCI World Cycling Centre and facilitated by Cycling Australia. The course will be held in Sydney next February. Samoa, who put on one of the best road tours in the Pacific, have usually had to fly in a mechanic from New Zealand to service their major events, so having someone trained on the ground in Samoa will be a terrific step forward.
Oceania Championships on track
The 2020 Oceania Cycling Championship series kicked off with the Oceania Track Championships held in Invercargill, New Zealand, from October 16 to 19. Overall the spoils were shared evenly between Tier 1 nations Australia and New Zealand. The Oceania Championships program is as follows:
2020 Oceania Continental Cycling Championships
- October 16-19, 2019 – Oceania Track Championships (Invercargill, New Zealand)
- December 7, 2019 – Oceania BMX Freestyle Championships (Melbourne, Australia)
- January 23-25 – Oceania Mountain Bike Championships (Dunedin, New Zealand)
- March 13-15, 2020 – Oceania Road Championships (Tasmania, Australia)
- March 28, 2020 – Oceania BMX Championships (Launceston, Australia)