Australia qualify full compliment of BMX riders for Rio
7 June 2016
BMX: Australia will go to the Rio Olympic Games with the maximum quota of BMX athletes qualified, confirmation coming overnight when world cycling's governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), released the official BMX Olympic qualification ranking.
BMX is a part of the Olympic program for just the third time in the history of the sport and as in Beijing and London, Australia will take three men and two women to the Games, in the hope of pursuing an elusive gold medal.
While the athletes that will represent Australia are yet to be announced, BMX high performance coach Wade Bootes said he is happy with the progress of the Australian athletes in contention for selection after Australia were ranked by UCI first in the women's and third in the men's standings.
“We’ve just finished up with the world championships and what we can take away from that is that we’re going to be in contention in Rio,” Bootes said.
“Caroline Buchanan has had a very good season, Lauren Reynolds has scored some good points to get our ranking up there in the women’s standings and we’re in a good spot.
“At worlds Anthony Dean and Sam Willoughby had a few issues, but the data tells us that our riders are all going fast enough to be a medal chance in Rio, I think we’re within striking distance.”
It won’t be the first time that Australia will approach an Olympics with medal aspirations. In London Willoughby entered the competition as the world champion and finished with silver, while Buchanan was the time trial world champion and after being the fastest qualifier for the Olympic final, ended up fifth, a result she is hoping to rectify in Rio.
With strong results throughout the international season so far, Bootes continued that the Aussie riders are not only going fast enough, but also understand what is required to produce good results in Rio.
“People always talk about the athlete cycle for the Olympics, and I think now our riders better understand themselves and know how to deliver results on the day. But when you ride for glory there is no guarantee,” he said.
“Some of our riders will race in Utah next week, which is the last one on the calendar and then we are in a rebuild phase before we taper off for Rio.
“I think everyone is so close at the top that the winner at the Olympics will be whoever can produce the most flawless lap.”
Australia’s BMX representative will be announced following selection meetings in June.