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Exxaro Trophy Unveiled

The Exxaro Trophy was unveiled at the launch of this year’s Absa Cape Epic in Johannesburg today (6 February 2014). Created by Lwandiso Njara, protégé of up-and-coming sculptor Angus Taylor, the trophy will be awarded to the overall winning team of the Exxaro Jersey. Says Taylor: “The trophy depicts two Exxaro mountain bikers infused with a mountain bike consciousness consisting of mechanical cogs/gears; a consciousness that reflects commitment and the joy inherent in goal achievement.” It resembles the transformation or progression of an ordinary young potential star from the township into a dedicated mountain biker. 

The Exxaro Trophy will act as further motivation for Exxaro riders

The Exxaro Jersey was introduced in 2012 and was awarded to the leading team of previously disadvantaged riders; under the age of 26.The inaugural award was won by team Exxaro PWC Academy, riders Siphosenkosi Madola and Azukille Simayile . In 2013 Team Exxaro Academy 9, Prince Maseko and Phillimon Sebona won this special jersey.

Says Njara:  “The trophy symbolises the act of teamwork, the energy, determined effort and passion required in order to complete the Absa Cape Epic. The trophy depicts a small coal cutter used in the Exxaro underground mines. The trophy is constructed of mediums such as coal, iron and bronze.”

Says Sipho Nkosi, CEO of Exxaro: “Exxaro’s MTB Academy was established with the vision to introduce the mountain biking experience to historically disadvantaged communities and individuals, and ultimately assist to transform the sport in South Africa. The Academy formally defined a number of objectives - the main ones being to increase the number of previously disadvantaged riders participating in the sport and events like the Absa Cape Epic; to create change in the lives of communities by providing young people with a healthy lifestyle alternative and inspire them to build a positive future for themselves and their families, thereby creating an environment to fulfill their dreams. 

Exxaro chose to foster the sport as a catalyst for change by partnering with the Absa Cape Epic. Our goal was to identify talented riders, screen them, train them and develop them to be able to become part of the experience of such a world-class event like the Absa Cape Epic. Today we’re proud to introduce the Exxaro Trophy as testament to our commitment to this cause. The trophy will reflect mountain biking and mining and will be made from coal and iron ore sourced from Exxaro mines. We hope this will act as further motivation to the Academy teams who will ride this prestigious race in 2014.

The Exxaro House accommodates ten students all in preparation of the Absa Cape Epic. They each have a set timetable consisting of training in the mornings, work, and followed by training again in the afternoon. Says Dirk Lourens General Manager Exxaro MTB Academy: “The Exxaro House is a place where the riders come and relax after training and working. The house is fitted with computers and televisions. This is also the place where the physiotherapist meets with the riders. In 2014 we’re going to introduce experts in various departments to work with the team to take their skills and fitness to a different level. This will definitely have a huge effect on their riding performance and general race results. We’re also working with the various institutions that will abroad the academic development of the riders enabling them to be self-sufficient after their Academy days.”

Says Kevin Vermaak, founder and director of the Absa Cape Epic: “We’re very proud of our association with Exxaro as well as the establishment of the Exxaro MTB Academy. These riders train very hard to make the most of this opportunity and we can clearly see an improvement in their skills and ability year on year. The Exxaro Trophy will act as further motivation for these athletes to train for and participate in the Absa Cape Epic.”

The Exxaro Trophy is made from coal, iron ore and bronze

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