The Seventh African Continental Cycling Championship came to an end with a signal accomplishment of young Eritrean riders. As such, the Eritrean youth are crowned champions twice both at the national and individual levels following the tough Continental Championships hosted in Rwanda and the homeland in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
It is to be noted that modern sports activities fi rst took root in Eritrea relative to the region and the entire continent. The Eritrean people became conversant with various sports activities in the fi rst quarter of the 20th century. Accordingly, the expression that sporting events are an integral part of the Eritrean youth’s culture is not an overstatement. In retrospect, the Eritrean youth have since the colonial era been demonstrating excellence in a number of international sporting events, especially in cycling, of whom Africa now takes due pride.
Despite this, sports activities in Eritrea, which were impeded due to the protracted liberation struggle, gained spurs in the wake of independence. Eritrea, in its short history of independence, has managed to nurture accomplished youths, who have earned gold medals in a number of sports events, but particularly, in cycling and athletics. Although it is not to be disputed that all sports activities are demanding for the nation’s utmost effort and nurturing, previous and contemporary exploits of the Eritrean youth amply bear out the country’s potentials.
On top of its vital role in cultivating the youth morally and physically, sport is one of the cultural components that promote fervent communal life, collective mindset and nationalism. In the cultural exchange and ties established with other societies, sport is a determining factor for expanding international recognition, thereby enhancing nationhood.
The fact that Eritrean youth have become medalists in two successive Continental Championships not only invokes jubilation and national pride, but also shoulders the responsibilities to capitalize on the potentials of our youth in order for the nation to benefi t from the end result. And hence, concerned governmental bodies involved in sports activities, as well as the entire society and the youth are expected to build up their endeavors counting upon the promising trend.