Pictures: Lonwabo Marele
The race is one of the oldest track cycling events on the calendar and dates back to 1893.
Affectionately known as Black Lightning, Mirsab’s cycling journey started when he was 13 years old after teacher Igshaan Isaacs at Muhammadeyah Primary School in Wynberg introduced him to the sport.
Mirsab earned his national colours earlier this year.
He is also the former SA under-16 and current under-19 track champ, has multiple Western Cape track podium finishes, and won a silver medal at the African continental track championships in January.
His style, skill and speed saw him crowned the junior men’s Keirin champion at Bellville Velodrome earlier last month. Mirsab said he excelled at athletics so his coach suggested he also try cycling.
“He said, ‘why don’t you give cycling a try because you are a good runner, let’s see what you can do on a bike’. I agreed, and when I started cycling it was just some other type of love because I had immediate passion for it. I did a couple of races and found out that I’m actually good at this, so I stuck to cycling. I’ve done other sports such as soccer and cricket, but nothing got me the way cycling got me,” he said.
“It’s definitely a lot of hard work and sacrifice. You know you want to go out, to be with your friends and go to the movie but sometimes you’re not able to do it because training demands sacrifice, as does school work. So it’s really a tough schedule, and I try to balance it between training, school work and sleep.”
Mirsab said he was inspired by world and SA champs Nolan Hoffman and Clint Hendricks.
He said he would love to represent South Africa at the Olympics, to be a pro rider representing SA at the World Tour, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Commonwealth Games and other world championships.
“Guys like that have already been to the Olympics and have represented SA at the Commonwealth Games, they have been to the world championships and Nolan actually came second. People say SA can come nowhere in the world when they race against other countries, but looking at him, I think I have a possible chance to do it.”
Mirsab said it is nice to know that he is also a role model to younger riders.
“I’m not the best because there’s always someone better than me, but for them to say they look up to me that actually motivates me to do better,” he said.
His father, Kasiem, said his son’s training includes swimming and exercises to build core strength.
“He’s got the biggest opportunity. Any athlete would want to be in his shoes. Because these colours don’t come easy you have to work very, very hard to get them.” Hismother,Shaheedah, remembers how happy Mirsab was when he received his first bike at the age of 11. She said she worries when he trains in the morning because it’s quite dark, but his family supports him by driving behind his bike to alert passing cars. Shaheedah says while she stays in the background she often gets told about how good Mirsab is at cycling.
“I hear sometimes fantastic stories from the venue. Over the months, I’ve also become very excited about the sport,” she said.
Mirsab needs about R37 300 to cover the costs of accommodation, flights and team management for the trip to Germany. The Jordans have been hosting food stalls every weekend to raise the funds. The young cyclist is optimistic that his dream will come true.
The Jordan’s will host a fundraising brunch on Saturday July 27 at the Masjidul Kareem Hall, 11th Avenue, Eagle Park, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Tickets cost R150. For more information, contact Shaheedah Jordan at 073 283 4487. To support Mirsab’s backabuddy campaign, visit https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/mirsab-jordan.