Musundi targets African Games qualification


IT didn't matter that South Africa-based Pressmore Musundi was born with deformed feet and missing toes; he was always destined to be a cyclist.

Born in Chiredzi 28-years ago, Musundi's story is that of hardship, determination and of course bicycles.

After dropping out of secondary school following the death of his father in 2004, Musundi crossed the border to South Africa when he was barely 14-years-old.

By that time he had already had his initial encounter with a bicycle, obviously one too big for his size, he used when he was going to Sangwe Primary School.

In South Africa, all he wanted was just a job to help look after his widowed mother and four siblings and thus he started off as a gardener and also worked as a building assistant.

It was when he worked for the Steeler family in 2009 as a gardener that they bought him a bicycle to use as transport to come to work.

And since then he has become a top professional cyclist and a well-known bicycle mechanic in South Africa.

In fact, Musundi's biggest dream now is to ride for Zimbabwe at the African Games (formerly known as the All Africa Games) and also at the World Championship.

"My dream is to represent Zimbabwe not only in Africa, but overseas also at the World Championships flying my country’s flag," Musundi told Sports Hub from his Pretoria base in an exclusive interview.

"My childhood dream was to be an IT person because that was my area of interest, but I didn’t finish school because my father had died in 2004 so we had no choice, but to go to South Africa to look for work.

"My journey on a bicycle started in Zimbabwe when I was cycling to school and that time I was riding  a two-pipe bicycle. It was years after I moved to South Africa that I started to take cycling seriously and here I am," he said.

Last week, the cyclist took to social media to look for sponsorship to enable him to take part in the Zimbabwe National Mountain Bike and Road Championship set for April.

He managed to raise the money needed inside three days and it is from this event that he hopes to make the team for the All Africa Games in Ghana later this year.

"I have spoken to the Zimbabwe Cycling Federation and we are already done with the racing licence. 

"I was chatting with Albert Kureva as well as  Nkulumo Dube from Bulawayo. When I come to Zimbabwe I am joining Siyaphambili Cycling Club and I understand the guys are co-founders.

"This year I want it to be big for me and the main goal is to win the Zimbabwe nationals; mountain bike and road racing. I want to come back to SA with a jersey, which says I am a Zimbabwe champion

"If the country selects me to go to Ghana in the disability category I want to bring home a gold medal, nothing else. I also want to be in the top five in all the stage races I am going to compete in this year,"  Musundi said.

While he has always raced with able-bodied opponents in his career, Musundi is looking to compete in the disabled category on the international stage.

He speaks about his disability as well as challenges he has faced in his career thus far.

"Most people don’t know I don’t have most of my toes on both feet because I am always wearing shoes to cover it up. The power for cycling is in the feet so when I remove my shoes it’s very painful to cycle. I can’t even wear slippers.

"I have faced so many challenges in my cycling career. If you are in a foreign country you have the advantage of earning points for World Championships. However, you cannot win end of year awards even if you have outdone everyone in that particular year.

"If you don’t have enough papers or a racing licence you are disqualified from some events and some teams just don’t take foreigners.

"There are a lot of academies, but you are not accepted when you are a foreigner," he said.

Musundi's professional career began in 2016 when the Pretoria South Lions Club invited him to join them and also offered to train him.

That same year he competed in his first time trial event and won a new bike and the following year Trailwolf Cycles gave him an opportunity to become a bike mechanic.

Musundi has worked his way up in the sport to ultimately finish on podiums at most of the high-profile races in SA.

The highly rated mountain biker has won the WTF MTN Challenge back in 2018 and also came third in the 2019 Route 66 MTB Experience among other top achievements.

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