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Nhlapo to race at SA champs

2012-04-17 14:19
Sifiso Nhlapo (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Olympic BMX finalist Sifiso Nhlapo will make an appearance at the SA National BMX Championships, from April 27 to 29.

Nhlapo is in a bid to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games and will use the SA Championships as a warm-up for the UCI BMX World Championships in Birmingham in May.

Despite participants being unable to qualify for this year's Games through the nationals, the event is still a UCI category-six event and there is still plenty to race for come next weekend.

South African women's rider Teagan O'Keeffe and Nhlapo are the country's only hopefuls to qualify for the Games in July. They need semi-final placings at the world championships if they want to book their places for London.

With the 2010 world championships runner-up title behind him, Nhlapo is bidding to regain full fitness and find the form that sent him shooting up the world rankings, and he will be hungry for a strong performance in Pietermaritzburg. "We're very excited to have Sifiso back for the nationals," said Cycling SA's national director: BMX, Margot Gerber.

"The likes of Kyle Dodd and Dean Holdstock, who have also been doing well recently will also be there, so we're really holding thumbs for a great event."

Nhlapo competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where BMX racing was showcased for the first time, but has been plagued by injuries ever since. In 2009 he crashed in training before the last round of the European Championships and broke his neck, fracturing his C3 and C4 vertebrae.

He bounced back in 2010 - after 10 months of rehabilitation - and finished second in the 2010 World Championships in Pietermaritzburg. He received another injury setback at the beginning of last year and underwent reconstructive surgery to his anterior cruciate ligament.

The SA National BMX Championships form part of the CSA KZN All Africa Challenge and take place at Alexandra Park.

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