The Flemish Sports Federation recently awarded five young sports entrepreneurs during the very first edition of ‘Jonge Leeuwen’. Former cyclist Jonas Vandeputte (24) and Bjarne Vandenbroucke (23) won the prize for the best social project with ‘From cub to official’. With their initiative they want to tackle the acute shortage of officials in amateur cycling.
During the closing day of the ‘Young Lions’ trajectory, a jury of experts selected five laureates. The big winner is tennis player Loïc Carlier of the Ostend Tennis Club. He developed a digital coach with which young people can train at all times, even when they are not at the club.
In addition to the overall winner, the Flemish Sports Federation also honored four other Young Lions. Two of them are the West Flemings Jonas Vandeputte and Bjarne Vandenbroucke. They received the recognition for the best social project. Jonas and Bjarne’s ‘From cub to official’ idea aims to tackle the dire shortage of officials in amateur cycling.
Waregemnaar Jonas used to cycle for Litubel Parket – Vanbrabant Chauffage – Wielerteam Waregem and as a junior he got to know his later regular training partner and good friend Bjarne from Heestert. After retiring from racing, they recently took part in the ‘Jonge Leeuwen’ project.
“I saw the match pass and immediately thought of the problem of the shortage of officials, because I had also researched this for my bachelor’s thesis,” says Bjarne. “Jonas was doing an internship at Cycling Vlaanderen at the time and was able to provide further information to participate. “When we were cyclists ourselves, that shortage was not really noticeable,” continues Jonas. “Everything seems so obvious as a rider. But from a management perspective, this was suddenly very noticeable, including the shortage of organisers, signalmen and volunteers.”
We Make The Course 2022
The friends set up several initiatives for their project. “We have adapted Cycling Vlaanderen’s website to increase transparency about the function of the official. The correct page is also easier to find via www.ikwordofficial.be. We also created a Facebook page We Make De Koers 2022 to create a community with officials, cyclists, photographers… In addition, we have banners, car magnets, promo videos and a bigger event will follow later.”