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Bikers promote regional integrity

12 November 2013, 07:30Augustine Osayande

Abuja - About 90 cyclists have confirmed participation at this week’s Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) International Cycling Tour, which aims to promote regional integration and free movement of persons across various borders.

The five-day race, which is in its third year, is scheduled to start from the National Stadium in Lagos on Wednesday and end in the Ivorian commercial capital, Abidjan on Sunday.

Francis Njoaguani, Director of ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC), said the cycle race would be held over four stages.

These are Lagos-Cotonou, Ouidah-Lome, Accra-Cape Coast and Aboisso-Abidjan, with three motorized transfers in between.

The caravan will traverse five countries - Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast,” Njoaguani said.

He said there would be cash prizes and trophies for winners at various stages and the overall tour winner in both individual and team categories.

Njoaguani added that there will also be prizes for sprints and the best young cyclist of the tour.

He said provisions have been made for insurance cover for the cyclists by ECOWAS and sponsors of the event.

“Each of the 15 Member States will field a team of six cyclists to be accompanied by five officials and the regional organization is working with Member States through their sporting authorities to provide some of the logistics for a hitch-free event,” the official added.

Apart from enhancing regional integration and free movement of persons across borders, ECOWAS initiated the competition in line with the Vision 2020 for transforming the regional bloc from an “ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of People.”

Burkina Faso won the previous editions of the competition held in 2009 and 2012.

– CAJ News

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