Craven to miss international events amid Covid-19

By Michael Uugwanga

THE country’s top male road cyclist, Dan Craven has ruled out taking part in any international cycling event this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic spreading globally.

Craven a regular Olympian and a Commonwealth Games participant will be expected to lead the Namibian cycling team to next year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, which will also be his last appearance at the Olympic Games.

Born 37 years ago in Omaruru, Craven has dominated cycling events locally, although he has spent most of his cycling career in Europe and in the United States of America.

He won the Namibian National Road Race Championships a record six times: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2015, 2016 and this year, while his record around the world speaks for itself  with numerous successes such as winning the African Road Championships in 2008,  Grand Prix Cristal Energie in France in 2008, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) Africa Tour in 2009, overall winner of Tour du Cameroun in 2014, and overall winner of Tour du Senegal in 2018.

Speaking in an interview with Confidente Sport from his hometown of Omaruru, the soft-spoke Craven said his focus for now is to compete locally as part of his preparation for the Tokyo Games, although major cycling events are set to start later this year.

“Just like everyone else, my year has been thrown into disarray. I am not planning on any international events at this time as it feels unlikely I will get to any, that leaves domestic events, of which the Tour de Windhoek is definitely the pinnacle, so I am very much looking forward to participating there. My goal right now is single. Prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

With their postponement by 12 months it means that everything has to change but not in a bad way because it means that I have an extra year to prepare and get to where I want to be. It has also given me time at home in Namibia which has been so rare in the last 20 years since I have been abroad and I am currently enjoying it here in my country.”

With the Nedbank Desert Dash set to take place on December 12, Craven is eager to win the country’s biggest cycling event of which he has not been a regular participant due to international commitments.

“The Desert Dash is the big event that I would like to take part in because my last two participations were a few years ago, and neither of them went very well, so I am looking forward to heading back there and enjoying myself although I am not in the best shape of my life as I have been catching up with all other parts of life I have missed out during the past 16 years,” said Craven.