The new sponsorship programme to support young Ethiopian cyclists has received great support from a range of international riders from around the world. Within weeks of launching the programme, offers of help to cover the cost of food, family support and English language lessons were received to cover six young cyclists who are members of the Ethio Cycling Holidays (ECH) junior development team.
“This is more than we could have hoped for!” was the reaction of Solomon Gebremariam Grmay, older brother of UCI World Tour rider Tsgabu Grmay, who coaches the six cyclists. “This support comes at a great time for the team. The boys are doing well, but in recent months they have sometimes struggled to finish their training simply because they do not have a good enough meal plan. If you don’t eat well, you can’t train hard. So the response from sponsors is really encouraging for all of us involved in the programme.”
Until now the boys aged 15 and 16 have been receiving 1000 birr ($28/month) to cover their food and provide some support to their families. The sponsorship programme will increase this amount to around 1400 birr ($40/month) per month. English language lessons are also planned to start soon, operating three times per week with a private tutor.
Coach Solomon believes that the boys are fiercely motivated to achieve success in their cycling having seen the success of his younger brother Tsgabu Grmay who now rides on the World Tour for Mitchelton Scott and who started riding when he was 15 before turning professional at the age of 21. “The boys have a great role model,” enthuses Solomon.
The team was set up in September 2019. They have group training sessions on the road three times a week and meet once a week in the gym.
More details of the sponsorship programme are here.