Help free-wheeling Kumar go Kiwi
A group of Queenstown mountainbikers are fundraising to pay for a Nepali downhill champ and free rider to visit New Zealand.
Raj Kumar, 20, won the Nepali downhill series last year and in 2011, not bad for a rider who started out when he was 7 and used borrowed bikes until he won his first mountainbike.
Queenstown bikers Amy Freedman Davies, originally from Canada, and Jarrah Healy, originally from Tasmania, want to raise $5000 to pay for Mr Kumar to compete in a series of competitions and soak up the burgeoning Southern Lakes biking zeitgeist.
The pair met the biker in Nepal last year in search of MTB trails and say the young rider's skills are some of the most impressive all-mountain abilities around.
A Facebook page - Kumar goes Kiwi - has been set up with a link to a fundraising website and, so far, more than $2000 has been raised, including $1000 from sponsors Atlas Beer Cafe and Queenstown Bike Taxis.
Mr Kumar has worked as a mechanic, a guide and a shop assistant and is eager to learn as much as he can during his time in New Zealand to take home and contribute to the developing mountainbiking scene in Nepal.
"I feel that Nepal is a very hard place for mountainbikers as professionals due to money and lack of support," he said.
"I am very excited to go to New Zealand for the experience and the opportunity to learn and improve my skill and see a more professional side of downhill mountainbike racing."
Ms Freedman Davies said bringing the young biker to New Zealand would give him experience of trail-building and expand his MTB knowledge for Nepal, a country where the average wage is less than US$200 ($240) a year.
She said the money raised so far, in just three weeks, paid for airline tickets. The aim was to raise another $3000 by mid-February.
In Queenstown, Mr Kumar will ride bikes, compete in MTB comps, watch upcoming downhill and biking events, and learn about trail building.
The Southland Times