Qualifying race begins for Afghan national cycling team
Up to 45 competitors from 15 provinces will participate in the 540-kilometre, five-phase race, the head of the Afghan Cycling Federation, Mohammad Sadiq Sadiqi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The cyclists will first race the 65-kilometre distance from Kabul to the Jabal-u-Siraj district of central Parwan province. From there, they will race to the district of Pul-i-Khumri in Baghlan province, a distance of 145 km, he said. After that, they will bike to Kunduz, then to Takhar, and finally to Faizabad, the capital of northeastern Badakhshan province, he said.
The race will conclude June 27, 2011. The 15 best cyclists will qualify for the national team, he said.
Two cyclists, Naweed Ahmad and Khalid, were hopeful they could qualify for the national team, but complained the sport was neglected in Afghanistan and said the government should provide cycling facilities and equipment.
The Afghan team will participate in the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games, which will take place within the next two months, Sadiqi said.
There are some 200 competitive cyclists, including 20 women, in Afghanistan’s 15 provinces.
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