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  aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers Media Release

 No: td1809

24 April 2018

   Embargo: None

Written by: Doug Carew


Hand cyclists set to prosper at aQuellé Tour Durban

Durban - Ari Seirlis, CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa, says the aQuellé Tour Durban at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday 29 April 2018, is an ideal race for hand cyclists because the road closures and superb organisation ensure a safe environment to participate.

“The marshalling is excellent and the roads are wide with plenty of space for everyone,” says Seirlis, a hand cyclists who will be competing in his fifth Tour Durban on Sunday. “It is also a fantastic route with great views. You are able to smell the sea and then there is the camaraderie with fellow cyclists who are ready to assist hand cyclists along if needed.”

Bridge Fund Managers, presenting sponsor of the aQuellé Tour Durban, also offers prizes (R2500 for the winner, R1500 for 2nd and R1000 for 3rd) for the leading hand cyclists. “I would love to be a contender,” said Seirlis. “But sadly I no longer compete for trophies but rather for fun, so I'm leaving the prize money for the youngsters.”

Seirlis thought his life had come to an end when he was rendered quadriplegic after breaking his neck while modelling for a television commercial at Durban's Waterworld in 1985. He was just 23. However, friends, family and hand cycling have all contributed to ensuring he continues to enjoy his life’s journey.

“Getting good exercise and good circulation for people with limited mobility is important and I can't see a better way than hand cycling; I love the opportunity to cycle Durban's beachfront - the freedom and the fresh air. So it is not surprising that hand cycling is growing in popularity and South Africa has some of the best competitors in the world,” he says.

His introduction to hand cycling is a remarkable story. “I entered the New York Marathon on the spur of the moment in 2005, without having ever used a hand cycle. I arrived to find a hand cycle inside a box in my hotel room, and put it together with the help of some friends,” says Seirlis. “With the motivation of the crowd, I managed to complete the marathon and getting to see the precincts of New York in a day was unbelievable.”

As CEO of QASA, Seirlis is involved in projects, products and services to provide opportunities for quadriplegics and paraplegics. “Obviously, the provision of skills development opportunities for the outcome of employment is a priority,” he says.

The work has brought significant changes. “Quadriplegics and paraplegics have been isolated in most environments as a result of inaccessible public transport and inaccessible infrastructure,” explains Seirlis. “QASA has managed to provide strong lobby and advocacy in these areas and the Go Durban project for an accessible integrated rapid Transport system in the Durban area will be a big WIN for quadriplegics and paraplegics.”

Asked if he is looking forward to Sunday’s race, Seirlis said: “Although the uphills are tough, the downhills are lots of fun. So I'm looking forward to the event … and getting to the end!”

Q&A WITH HAND CYCLIST ARI SEIRLIS

Hand cyclist Ari Seirlis, CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa, will compete in the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday 29 April 2018.

1. How many times have you competed in the aQuellé Tour Durban and why do you enjoy the race?
This will be my fifth. The route is fantastic, being able to smell the sea, the great views and the camaraderie with fellow cyclists. Although the uphills are tough, the downhills are lots of fun. So I'm looking forward to the event … and getting to the end!

2. Why should hand cyclists enter the Tour Durban?
The road closures offer a safe environment to participate, the organisation is superb, the marshalling is excellent, and the roads are wide with plenty of space for everyone. Fellow cyclists are also always ready to assist hand cyclists along if needed.

3. Bridge Fund Managers, presenting sponsor of the aQuellé Tour Durban, offer 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes for hand cyclists – are you a contender?
I would love to be a contender, but sadly I no longer compete for trophies but rather for fun, so I'm leaving the prize money for the youngsters.

4. How did you get involved and why do you love the sport?
I entered the New York Marathon on the spur of the moment in 2005, without having ever used a hand cycle. I arrived to find a hand cycle inside a box in my hotel room, and put it together with the help of some friends. With the motivation of the crowd, I managed to complete the marathon and the opportunity to see the precincts of New York in a day was unbelievable. But I also love the opportunity to cycle Durban's beachfront - the freedom and the fresh air.

5. The status of hand cycling in SA?
Hand cycling is growing in popularity and South Africa has some of the best competitors in the world.

6. What tips do you have for hand cyclists?
I can't profess to having any tips other than enjoy yourself. Getting good exercise and good circulation for people with limited mobility is important and I can't see a better way than hand cycling.

7. What rendered you quadriplegic?
I broke my neck while modelling for a television commercial at Durban's Waterworld in 1985. I was 23 and I thought that my life had come to an end. But with great family support, some friends and strategy, I have enjoyed the journey thus far.

8. As CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa what is your focus?
QASA provides projects, products and services to ensure the full capacity and integration opportunity for quadriplegics and paraplegics in South Africa. Obviously, the provision of skills development opportunities for the outcome of employment is a priority.

9. What are the major hurdles?
Quadriplegics and paraplegics have been isolated in most environments as a result of inaccessible public transport and inaccessible infrastructure. QASA has managed to provide strong lobby and advocacy in these areas and the Go Durban project for an accessible integrated rapid Transport system in the Durban area will be a big WIN for quadriplegics and paraplegics.

10. What do you get up during your leisure time?
You might be surprised to know that I ride an off-road motorbike, a Polaris side-by-side and do a number of off-road rally events, and then I enjoy the tranquillity of fly-fishing.

Media Contacts:
Paul Stewart, Head: Fund Management - 021 4920210. paul.stewart@bridgefm.co.za 

BRIDGE FUND MANAGERS is an asset manager specialising in providing retirement saving and retirement income portfolios. BRIDGE operates in the retail, institutional, private clients and stockbroking markets. Our unique Payers & Growers® investment methodology is designed and actively managed to assist investors in securing high and growing income streams and inflation-beating capital returns through their investment portfolios. For more information please visit http://www.bridgefm.co.za .

The aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers, takes place on Sunday 29 April 2018. More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za 

ENDS

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aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers Logo  

Ari Seirlis, the CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa, will be doing his fifth aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. " I also love the opportunity to cycle Durban's beachfront - the freedom and the fresh air," said Seirlis.

Supplied/
Gameplan Media

Hand cyclists will once again have their own class ands prize money at the aQuellé Tour Durban after presenting sponsor Bridge Fund managers put up prize money for the top hand cyclists. "Fellow cyclists are also always ready to assist hand cyclists along if needed.," said QuadPara Association head Ari Seirlis, a regular participant in the race.

Dave Macleod/
Gameplan Media

Former Sharks winger Cedric Mkhize is a regular participant in the hand cycle race at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers.

Dave Macleod/
Gameplan Media

The 45km race at the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers always attracts a group on enthusiastic hand cyclists. This year Bridge Fund Managers have once again promoted hand cycling as a  separate class with its own prize money.

Dave Macleod/
Gameplan Media

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