Pretoria - South Africa's top cross-country mountain biker
Philip Buys will tackle the African Continental Mountain Bike Championships in
Rwanda on Sunday despite a shoulder injury.
The 26-year-old recently tore shoulder ligaments but will
not allow the injury stand in the way of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic
“I need the UCI ranking points that are on offer to try and
qualify for next year’s Olympic Games so riding through pain for an hour or two
is a small price to pay," Buys said.
"I will just strap my shoulder with duct tape before
the race so as to try and lessen the pain."
The Tuks/hpc rider injured his shoulder at the South African
Mountain Bike Cup race at Mankele outside Nelspruit at the end of April where
he crashed into a tree.
“For a moment I thought I might have broken my shoulder, but
the doctor established that I have only torn some ligaments," Buys said.
"I had to take things slightly easier during the past two
weeks but I think I have recovered sufficiently to race. I am still in pain
Buys finished 35th in his maiden Olympic Games in London
where he crashed setting off on the seven-lap 34.08km course in the Olympic
Cross-Country (XCO) discipline.
He finished fifth overall in this year's Absa Cape Epic and
won a stage as well.
On the latest UCI mountain bike rankings he is placed 29th
which is two positions higher than previously. France’s Julien Absalon tops the
rankings with 2 083 points.
Buys has 693 points and James Reid, the second best South
African on the list, is in the 39th position with 610 points.
Only 49 riders can qualify for the Games and according to
UCI regulations, Buys would automatically qualify for the Games if he should
win the Continental Championships in Rwanda.
However, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee
(SASCOC) does not hold qualification through Africa in high regard.
“I really feel strong at the moment and I know that, if bad
luck does not strike again, I will be capable of getting good results in
races," Buys said.