Cyclist looses championship to help fellow racer - Fiji Sun 22 Sept 2009
A favourite to win the Fiji SUN National Cycling Championship Series and up coming Tour of Fiji may have put himself out of contention after stopping to help another competitor.
Jope Tikotani is one of best cyclists in Fiji. After losing time to punctures in the last two races he was slowly clawing his way back up the table to be in with a chance of regaining the top spot.
If the final few kilometers of Sunday's Rooster Race, a 150km cycle race from Suva to Korovisilou and back, veteran cyclist Yee Wah Sing had crippling cramps. Tikotani came across Yee wracked in pain and he helped the fellow cyclist to the side of the road.
"Jope dragged me from the middle of road where I fell - with me still clipped on to the bike and stayed with me for about 10 minutes. He tried to get me back on the bike to complete the race and only left after he arranged for emergency rescue." Said Yee
"I also appreciate the many motorists who stopped to see whether they could help. One lady even did a U-turn and came around to see if she could take me to get treated. It was only cramps but it was in every muscle from my toes to my waist and it was terribly painful. He added.
President of Cycling Fiji, Dom Sansom, said of Tikotani. "He put his fellow cyclist wellbeing before his own glory. This is common in cycling as cyclists from opposing teams will often help each other while racing. Jope had a great chance of winning the championship but the time he lost helping Wah puts him a long way behind. But, he has great heart and if anyone can make a comeback, he can.
Tikotani was modest about incident. "I saw Wah as his legs seized. It's one of those things that happens in cycling. Normally you can work your way through the pain but this was bad. I helped him unclip his shoes from his bike and when the cramps didn't go away I called the race director and he said he would come and get him and for me to finish the race. I didn't want to leave but Wah told be to go and not lose more time"
Tikotani's skill as a cyclist can be seen on TV as he stars in a television commercial. When she heard of Tikonai's selfless act Film Producer, Catherine Morgan, was full of praise for Tikotani "There is such incredible spirit you have in the Fiji cycling family. He gets my vote for Sportsman of the Year."
Tikotani will be battling to regain time in the next race in the Fiji SUN National Cycling Championship Series from Lami to Pacific Harbour on 3 October.