Vorster still going strong at 41
By Michael Uugwanga
AT 41, Namibia’s top female cyclist Michelle Vorster says she still feels like a youngster and has no plans of retiring. An Olympian, Vorster is waiting on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to inform her about her participation at the 2020 Olympics Games that are set to take place from 24 July to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
Speaking to Confidente Sport this week, Vorster with her delightful smile said she has no idea when she will stop cycling competitively. She became the first Namibian woman to qualify for the Tokyo Games mountain bike race, although she only joined mountain biking in 2015.
Vorster only started pedalling seriously in 2013 after a few friends asked her to experience Namibia on a bicycle: the rest is history.
“I went out with a group of girls who invited me to experience Namibia's bush. I was fortunate to be the first female to qualify Namibia for a spot at the Olympic Games in mountain biking. I qualified in 2015 at the African Continental Champs in Rwanda, only two years after taking up cycling and subsequently competed in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.”
She however had a disappointing run in 2016, “I was still new in the mountain bike [sport] at the time. I managed to finish in 27th place in Rio but was pulled off the track due to the 80 percent rule.”
She is now looking ahead to the Tokyo Games as an opportunity to make up for it. “I hope to finally receive confirmation of qualification to compete in the Mountain Bike Cross Country Olympic (MTB XCO) event on the 27th of July. I have unfinished business at the Olympic Games,” she smiled.
She says the secret behind her success is partly down to her husband who continues to support her as a wife, mother and athlete. Although she is a holder of a B.Comm degree in Finance Management, Vorster focuses on cycling and her family.
“My first race was in 2013 in the Nedbank Desert Dash. I’ve competed four times in the two-man category and two times in a four-man team category. I have been in the winning team four times (twice in the two-man and twice in the four-man), and once second in a two-man team.
“I believe that all results are already decided by God, but I will always compete hard and do my best. I am fortunate enough to have a husband that fully supports me and our family. We made a life decision early in our marriage to allow me to be a stay-at-home mom. I have three wonderful children. I never really took to that career [in finance management].
“The balance between sport and motherhood is most difficult when I need to compete away from home. Other times, like this morning, I wanted to be at my child's athletics event and to make it I had to get up at 03h30, do my four hours scheduled ride to be in time to watch her competing in her first event at 08h00. These are the sacrifices I live with based on my decision.”