Sponsorship deal for Cuestars champion

A HAMPSHIRE bicycle specialist has forked out a substantial three-figure sum to provide a year’s coaching for the champion of a regional junior snooker circuit.

A spokesman for Vankru Cycling said they stepped in after Chandler’s Ford teenager Steven Hughes won the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Bronze Tour rankings.

The firm, located in Lower Upham, near Marwell Zoo, mainly provides bike fitting for riders and their machines.

Hughes described the sponsorship deal as “absolutely amazing”.

The 13-year-old reached six of the eight finals in his first full Cuestars season to finish in top spot. He received his trophy from world number nine Joe Perry at finals day in Swindon.

Hughes, who has a top matchplay break of 43, also competes in the Eastleigh & District Under-19 League and the Open Series at his practice base, Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.

“If feels good that I have somebody who knows how much hard work goes into snooker,” said the Toynbee School pupil and keen amateur dramatist.

“It’s a bit of pressure off my parents. It’s absolutely amazing.”

Vankru Cycling owner and family friend Garth Kruger, said: “Although cycling and snooker are two different sports, I used to be a young cyclist so I wanted to help – especially with the coaching. I believe everyone needs a coach and needs help.”

Describing his business, the 41-year-old said: “I help my clients with any injuries they may have which are caused by the bike or aggravated by the bike.

“It’s sort of like physiotherapy – but on a bike. I make adjustments to the bike and their cycling shoes to try to get rid of the injury or discomfort. I also prescribe exercises to help with those problems.”

Kruger, a Master Retul Bike Fitter who is often sent clients by physiotherapists and osteopathic clinics, added: “About 80 per cent of my clients have injuries. The other 20 per cent is made up of riders who just want to go faster.”

Vankru Cycling provides, builds and fits bikes for complete beginners up to professional racers.

Hughes’ World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley said: “What Garth has done is a massive confidence boost for Steven. It’s a fitting end to a truly remarkable season.”

Report and picture by Tim Dunkley. Steven Hughes (left) and sponsor Garth Kruger.