Spotlight on El Salvador
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, and the Federación Salvadoreña de Ciclismo (FSC) is nothing if not determined to get that population onto bikes.
To do this, explains FSC President Enrique Antonio Araujo, the Federation has five development priorities:
Cycling schools: In 2016, the FSC drew up a list of clubs that have a programme for girls and boys aged 7 to 14 that not only teach them to handle a bike but also to use cycling as a means of personal growth. “As in any country, the future of cycling in El Salvador begins with ‘cycling schools’,” says Mr Araujo. “These schools are developing rapidly as parents have understood that their children receive structured and solid training with clear objectives adapted to each athlete.”
National youth selections: Once the fundamental techniques of cycling acquired, young riders have the possibility to join national selections for cadets and juniors, with the aim for some of representing their country.
High level: Athletes with high potential who have already registered good results at national and international level are included in a database in order to monitor their progress and structure their competition calendar to fit in with the objectives set by the Federation.
Training of coaches: Conscious that behind every successful athlete is a very good coach, the FSC puts emphasis on the training of new coaches as well as the continued education of the country’s current coaches.
Organisation of events: Races are among the main motivations for athletes, and also allow the Federation to identify talents, evaluate athletes and verify that the objectives set are achieved.
Vuelta Futuro ESA
The success of the FSC’s training programme for children led to the launch, in December 2016, of the three-day Vuelta Futuro ESA which saw around 40 girls and boys aged 13 to 16 compete in mixed teams of five riders. The organisation took care of their accommodation, meals and transport.
“The aim was to give them the unforgettable experience of living the life of Elite riders competing in a stage race,” explains the Federation President. “The first edition was a clear success both for the riders and the sponsors, who gained recognition by lending their brands to cycling.”
This year, in addition to the second edition of the Vuelta Futuro ESA, El Salvador will also organise an international BMX event, the Fecha Internacional BMX El Salvador in San Juan Opico. Another major goal for the country’s cyclists will be the Central American Games in Managua (Nicaragua) in December, where BMX, mountain bike and road cycling are on the programme.
Mr Araujo emphasises the cooperation with neighbouring countries when it comes to developing events, encouraging participation and training athletes.
“The aim is to increase the participation of the region’s athletes in UCI competitions and improve their performances,” he said. “Cycling in El Salvador is progressing in a structured manner and it is important to have medium- and long-term plans to strengthen the foundations.”