Nic Dlamini says he’s still “coming to terms with what happened” after he was injured by park rangers during an altercation over Christmas.
Dlamini, who competes for NTT Pro Cycling, formerly Dimension Data, was training in Table Mountain National Park in near Cape Town, South Africa when he was stopped by rangers.
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In the ensuing confrontation, which was filmed and posted on social media on December 27, a park ranger broke Dlamini’s arm before he was thrown into the back of a vehicle.
In a statement posted on Facebook, South African rider Dlamini said: “I am overwhelmed by the support offered by everyone at home and around the world, especially from the cycling world. This has been an extremely upsetting experience and your support means a lot to me.
“For now, I need to receive expert care and physio at hospital or rest at home until I’m well enough to leave and make a statement to the police. I am not sure when this will be, but for now things are a little uncomfortable and I am still coming to terms with what happened.”
Shocking video footage of the incident emerged just a few days after Christmas, showing Dlamini being manhandled by park rangers.
According to the park rangers, Dlamini was confronted because he hadn’t paid a conservation fee and did not have the required permits, adding that he “injured himself during the ordeal.”
In a statement reported by Times Live, a spokesperson for the park rangers said: “According to the TMNP section ranger, the cyclist had entered gate one of the Silvermine section without paying the conservation fee nor showing proof of activity permits when requested.
“Upon investigation and finding the cyclist who could not produce his entry ticket or a valid activity permit, the situation spiralled causing the suspect to injure himself during the ordeal.”
NTT later confirmed that Dlamini had suffered a broken arm and would need surgery.
In his statement, posted on December 30, Dlamini said the operation was successful but he is still unsure when he will be back on the bike.
He is also seeking legal advice from law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, who are also dealing with athlete Caster Semenya’s case against the IAAF.
In the wake of the incident, UK cyclist Ryan Visser set up a fundraising campaign with the aim of raising money for Dlamini’s medical costs, legal fees and other support.
The campaign has raised £877 towards the £10,000 target.
Dlamini, 24, started his career with Dimension Data as a stagiare in 2017, joining the main roster that same year.
This season he rode and finished his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España.
He is set to continue riding with the South African squad next season.