Previous medal winner Wendell Bole has his sights firmly set on standing on the podium in his competitive 60-64-age category. “There are thirty guys in my age category from all over the world, and six world champions,” says Bole.

The 62-year old who hails from Alberton, in Johannesburg has been in and out of competitive track cycling since 1995, where he earned a world championship silver medal in the Sprint and a bronze in the Time Trial. In 1996, he again claimed a bronze medal in the TT.

After a long lay off and spending two years in Malaysia, Bole returned home to South Africa and took to the track again in 2004. He managed to break a few national records and was consistently finishing fourth across the disciplines in the world championships of 2005.

“The top three competitors at world level were challenging each other for medals, and I was always a safe fourth place – out of medal contention but in no real threat of losing fourth place,” Bole continues.

Bole hung up his track bike once again, but this year he proclaims to have had a bee in his bonnet, fuelled by his son’s persuasion to see him participate in the national track cycling championships that was held in Pietermaritzburg.

“I had been out of it (competitive track cycling) for seven years and had no idea where I was in terms of times. I did four 2000m pursuits and that is when my son persuaded me to tackle the national champs.

“After knocking 12 seconds off the national record in the 2000m pursuit, I knew that I wanted to compete in the Worlds and that I have a strong shot at a gold medal.”

Training on the concrete outdoor tracks at Hector Norris Park in Johannesburg and Pilditch in Pretoria do not offer the smoothness of the world championship track in Manchester. “The biggest revelation for me is that I am currently posting great times on the bumpy outdoor tracks. I train at Hector Norris, which is a 500m track, and also use Pilditch to get the feel of the 250m track, which is the track length we will be racing on in Manchester.

“The great difference is that Manchester’s indoor wooden track has shorter straights and rounder bends, so it is a much faster track. And apart from the speeds that can be reached on the wooden surface, the elements are controlled as well. I am really excited to see how I perform at these World Champs. I am ready.”

A six-strong masters team will be representing South Africa in Manchester with racing starting from Sunday.