What's Cool In Road Cycling

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio Crowned Sports Woman Of The Year

South African earns second prestigious award in two weeks.

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio was named South African Sports Woman of the year this past weekend at the annual South African Sports Awards. It was the second bit of recognition for the South African National Champion after she was crowned SPAR gsport Athlete of the year on 24 November.

The SA Sports Awards seems like the most prestigious in the country, what was the experience like?
It was my first SA Sports Awards and it was a very special experience. It was wonderful to connect with the key players in the South African sporting community and to realise how much energy and passion there exists behind all the different sporting codes. An event like the SA Sports Awards was and ideal opportunity for all of us from such diverse sporting codes to connect, and to get to know each other better. I loved meeting Portia Modisa, Mapaseka Makhanya, Mpho Madi, Sunette Viljoen and many more who are in such different sports to me and are achieving on their platforms. I am passionate about promoting women’s sport in South Africa and so I absolutely loved seeing the women being acknowledged for their successes.

What does it mean to win the award?
It is a huge honour to win an award of this prestige and it means so much to me as I feel it provides a great platform to promote women’s cycling in South Africa and to share my message as a passionate female cyclist. Cycling is not a mainstream sport in South Africa, but events such as Unite4Madela and winning this award has definitely moved it up a notch and placed our beautiful sport in the eye of the greater South African public. I have a huge passion for cycling and although performing on the bike is important to me, it is actually the impact that I can have on other people’s lives through sharing my experiences and successes that inspires me the most. I feel very blessed to have won two Sportswoman of the Year awards this past week, and I hope that by winning these awards I can inspire my fellow South African’s to find their passion in life and to pursue it.

It’s been a tough year, is it a case of you still put the hard work in and it’s nice to be recognized?
Cycling is a tough sport, we work very hard and we as South African’s sacrifice a lot in order to compete at the highest level of our sport by leaving our home country to compete in Europe, the hub of professional cycling. In cycling, it is not always the strongest or the fastest cyclist who wins the race, because after all the preparation has been done, a lot is left to chance and tactics on race day. This year I haven’t achieved all the goals I set out for myself, but the Commonwealth Games were a big focus and I am incredibly touched to realise the impact my performance in Glasgow had on the country. I was an underdog on the day, I was outnumbered by the stronger cycling nations like Australia and England, but I kept fighting till the very end and my perseverance won me a bronze medal. I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith and I feel very honoured to have inspired a nation through my efforts.

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