Girl Cyclist Charlize Murphy Is Already Achieving After A Few Months Cycling By Cheryl Roberts

24 Jan


A few months ago, a girl already knew she wanted to study law after school and she also knew she had a growing interest in cycling.
Despite not being able to afford her own cycle, having no cycling
track to ride on in her home town, and being involved in competitive
cycling for under a year, a 16 year old schoolgirl from Oudtshoorn is
already racing into medal positions in provincial and continental cycling championships.
16 year old schoolgirl Charlize Murphy desperately wanted to cycle but was afraid to approach the cycling club officials at her school and in her community in Oudtshoorn where she attends school and lives. Then, assisted by school boy friends, she not only got into the cycling club but also got onto a cycle. And within 7 months of the cycling dream happening, of Charlize riding a cycle for the first time, she not only got selected for the South African cycling team but has also
participated in the senior African Cycling Championships.
It was at Bridgeton high school in Oudtshoorn where Charlize found
herself attracted to cycling. She saw her school friends being
involved in the sport and wanted that participation, too. But she was
shy and afraid to approach the club coaches and officials. However, she told her school friends of her cycling desire. And they made it happen for her. One day, last June, Charlize’s school boy friends pushed her into the classroom and locked the door, forcing Charlize to be alone with the school teacher, and ask her about joining the cycling club, who also happened to be the cycling coach. And that’s how she told educator and cycling coach Lee Arries of her desire to be on a cycle.
Charlize had no cycle of her own but the community club, being aware that racing cycles can’t be purchased by their working class members, makes cycles available within the club.
And so Charlize got onto the cycle and started riding on the road.
Within a few days of riding, she knew she was in love with being on a cycle. Her teacher Lee Arries also became her cycling coach and
together, the two of them road ahead on the cycle. That was in June last year.
In December, Charlize participated in the Western Cape track cycling
championship in Cape Town. She had never raced on a cycling track. She won gold medals in the junior girls events. Then came the surprise announcement she had been selected for the South African women’s cycling team that would participate in the African cycling
championship to be held in South Africa.
The excitement was too much for the junior girl cyclist. It would be
her first time travelling on a plane to KZN where the championship was being held. With her unemployed parents being unable to pay for the costs of her sports participation, Charlize’s club and coach struggled to get some funds to ensure Charlize could make it to the continental championship.
After much asking, pleading and fundraising, Charlize was on the
plane to Pietermaritzburg in KZN where a whole new cycling world
greeted her. She met her SA  senior women team mates, saw women
cyclists from other African countries and met and raced with Ebtesam Zayed from Egypt, Africa’s first woman track cycling Olympian.
This would be only the second time  she would ride on a cycling track, let alone race in competition on a track. And, despite being a junior competitor, she had to race with Africa’s accomplished senior women cyclists.
But Charlize held it down, held her own on the track she had to become friends with. Last week, she competed in the continental cycling championship for the first time, having just started cycling 7 months ago, and won one silver medal and two bronze medals attained in junior girls competition.
Charlize’s humble woman coach Lee Arries was both surprised and proud of Charlize’s phenomenal achievements. ‘We’ve struggled to get the money to help Charlize race at the African cycle champs. Now Charlize has rewarded herself, the club, community, school and parents with these remarkable results,’ says Lee Arries.
And the road ahead for junior girl cyclists like Charlize Murphy in a
sport where cyclists have to mostly personally fund their
participation in the sport? For now, Charlize who already knows she wants to study law at Stellenbosch University in 2021, has the backing and support of her club who are looking after her participation in cycling. Inspired and motivated by the cycling feats of Africa’s women cyclists, she wants to achieve much more in cycling. For now, she will get onto the cycle, ride on the road and prepare for the South African road and track cycling championships

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