The old saying that dynamite comes in small packages fits Mughammad Arnold, 10, like a glove. Or, in his case, like the cleats on his shoes, which ensure his feet fit firmly on the pedals of his bike.
The youngster from Westridge was recently crowned the Western Province Cycling Association’s track champion in his division after a string of events that culminated in the final races of the Revolution Track League series, at the Bellville Velodrome, a fortnight ago.
His achievement is a real confidence-booster ahead of the upcoming Western Cape road championships in Laingsburg later this month, placing him among the favourites for another podium spot. However, he will have his work cut out as he will be competing in a much tougher under-13 division.
A Grade 5 pupil at Al Azhar Primary School, in Rondevlei, the newly-crowned champion has been in the saddle for almost his entire life and was able to ride a bike without training wheels since the age of 2, said his mother Nazley, herself a keen cyclist, along with her husband Maymoun and the couple’s two other children.
Cycling is indeed a family affair for the Arnolds as all of them have been riding bikes for many years.
Mughammad took to cycling like a duck to water and could often be seen following his father around in fun rides in and around the neighbourhood. It wasn’t long before he joined Cape Town Giants Cycling Club with whom he spent a number of years before joining Kinetic Cycling Club late last year, as they had more riders his age.
Over the years he’s earned a number of accolades, including the under-11 WPCA Road League title in 2019.
He also made Western Province Youth teams on four occasions to represent the Western Cape Metropole at regional competitions.
In January 2020, he finished second in the Western Cape Road Championships before taking a bit of a break due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown.
When restrictions were relaxed towards the end of last year, official racing, subject to certain protocols, was allowed to resume.
A number of events were crammed into a shortened league, which finished two weeks ago.
Each of these events consisted of a number of races in which riders were able to gain points, tallied up to decide an overall winner in various categories.
Ms Arnold hopes her son’s achievements will inspire others to follow suit, saying they’d be more than happy to assist whether at school or at home.
Giants vice-chairman, Sharief Peters, was quick to congratulate the young champ. “He basically started with Cape Town Giants and I’ve always been impressed with his never-say-die attitude. It’s his determination that helped him to be successful on the road and on track.
“Also, family involvement is most important when it comes to the development of our children. So well done to his parents too,” he said.