Nhlapo’s pedal power sees him qualify for Olympics

2012-05-31 09:51

BMX champ Sifiso Nhlapo once again showed his mettle as he brushed aside his past setbacks to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Nhlapo competed at the BMX World Championships in Birmingham over the weekend.

“I guess it’s been a tough four years for me,” said Nhlapo yesterday after arriving back in South Africa.

“I had some injuries along the way and I just had to show what I had in me and got the job done.”

As always, Nhlapo did not take the easy route to achieve his goal and crashed in the semifinal of the World Championships in Birmingham.

His placement in the quarterfinal, however, was good enough to secure his berth in the South African Olympic team but Nhlapo was still disappointed about not winning a medal.

“At the World Championships, the main goal is to get into the final and to compete for a medals but, unfortunately, I crashed in the semi-final,” he said.

He was understandably frustrated at his early exit after finishing third in 2008 and winning a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships which were held in Pietermaritzburg.

Nhlapo reached the final of BMX racing’s maiden appearance at the 2008 Games in Beijing but his dreams of an Olympic medal were dashed when he collided with Australian Jared Graves.

The 25-year-old said he would put his feet up for a week before his build-up to the Games started in earnest.

“Right now, I am taking the week off as it’s been a hectic six months and I’ve been travelling a lot,” he said.

“I’m just really going to give my body time to rest ahead of the hard training that I have to do over the next eight weeks.

“I will just dedicate all my time and energy into those eight weeks.”

It has been an arduous road towards qualifying for the Games after Nhlapo broke his neck in 2009 and had ACL [Anterior Cruciate Ligament] reconstructive surgery in 2011.

Despite this, he said he never had any reservations about whether or not he would qualify for his second Olympic Games.

“I’ve never doubted my ability to qualify,” he said. “For me it was a matter of getting the job done on the day.”

Nhlapo said he would not be a mere passenger at the Olympic Games and he was 100% committed to finally returning to South Africa with an Olympic medal around his neck.

“When you go to the Olympics, you go there to compete for a medal. I’m definitely going there to give it my all,” said Nhlapo.

“My goals are definitely to do my best and to get into the final and fight for a medal.”

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