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'CYCLE FOR HOPE' WHEELS OFF TOMORROW’

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The 10 cyclists involved in the 'Cycle for Hope' Tour which began in Morocco last December will enter Lagos State through Seme Border tomorrow for the Nigerian Leg of the tour.

The six month tour, which has seven men and three women cycling around Africa starting from Morocco, was organised by Ambassadors in Sport (AIS) International to raise monies for the establishment of Hope Football Academies across Africa.

Cycling to change the African Youth President of AIS, Nigeria, Moses Iloh, who served as president of the Nigeria Cycling Federation (NCF) for 15 years, said the tour is an avenue for creating awareness for the 2010 World Cup; promoting cycling in Africa and changing the value system of the African youth.

'These are professional cyclists from Ireland and England who believe in the development of the youth.

They are going to show the world, especially the youth in Africa that you don't have to be a criminal to succeed in life. They are doing it with their own money based on pure humanitarian grounds.

'They have been riding since December through the hardship of the African terrain, raising money for the establishment of Hope Academies in each country they've been,' he said.

Football academy
Iloh, further, revealed that the funds raised as the cyclists traverse a designated route through Nigeria from March 3 to 14 will be utilized in building a Hope Football Academy in the country.

The 80 year old sports administrator added that the academy, when built, will combine formal education with sports.

'The belief in Nigeria is that sportsmen and women are generally school dropouts. The Hope Academy will try to correct that belief. There are many boys and girls that cannot go to the university which the academy will offer them an educational scheme programmed which combines sports and academies.' Speaking on the schedule for the Nigeria Leg, the member of both the African and World Cycling Federations said:

'The cyclists are expected to enter Nigeria through Seme on Wednesday and exit into Cameroun through Ikom in Calabar.

'They will be given a guided tour of the New Lagos, have lunch with the governor and we will get youths in the state together for an interactive session where they can ask questions. We will have the same kind of session in Abuja.' The cycling team comprising four men and a woman cyclist will join the cycling train when it enters Lagos on Wednesday. The names of the cyclists, who are presently in training, will however be released today.