Olympics 2012

SA's Nhlapo in 30th spot

2012-08-08 18:17
Sifiso Nhlapo (File)
London - South African BMX ace Sifiso Nhlapo made the first, albeit nervous, steps towards redeeming himself at the London Olympic Games on Wednesday.

Video: SA's Sifiso Nhlapho, Men's BMX

While Nhlapo posted the 30th fastest time out of 32 riders entered in the seeding run, the true racing only begins on Thursday, in the quarter-finals.

Each rider made a run on the 450m long track - which features a combination of high technical jumps, obstacles and tightly banked corners - to determine the seedings for the quarterfinals.

"It was not the start I wanted but I regained my composure," Nhlapo said.

"It's not really good time but I'm looking forward to racing tomorrow."

Nhlapo would hope for a better campaign than the Beijing Games where BMX racing made its Olympic debut.

The 25-year-old reached the final four years ago, but a collision with Australian Jared Graves saw his dream of winning a medal come to an abrupt end.

"This is a sport that can throw a lot of things at you and you've just got to be prepared," he said.

"A lot of people think it can never happen to them but it's the nature of the beast.

"We're professional athletes and, at the high level, everyone can give you a bit of a personal story about injuries."

Nhlapo said he was relieved to be at the Games after the numerous setbacks he has suffered over the last few years.

"It's been a real struggle to just get to this point, but I'm here and I'm safe.

"I managed to get the job done so I'm really excited for tomorrow."

While he was disappointed with his outing, Nhlapo felt the seeding run was not a true reflection of what could be expected in the next rounds.

"First and foremost we race," he said.

"Seeding is new to our sport and doesn't show the true potential of the athletes.

"When you're at the gate with seven other guys, you have adrenaline and there's a lot of other things that come into play.

"It's not just you versus the track - it's you versus seven other guys."

Nhlapo's resilience has earned him a lot of support and respect on the BMX circuit and it is unlikely his opposition will discount him.

The South African felt it was still possible to emulate the success of Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh, South Africa's Olympic gold medallists in the swimming.

"The goal is to keep it safe and have fun," Nhlapo said.

"I think I've come this far for a reason and, you know, this is the Olympic Games, anything can happen.

"We saw with Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos, if you're at this level, it's anybody's race."

Results for the cycling events held on Wednesday from the Summer Olympics:



Seeding Run

Heat 1

1. Raymon van der Biezen, Netherlands, 37.779.
2. Joris Daudet, France, 38.221.
3. Twan van Gendt, Netherlands, 38.339.
4. Connor Fields, United States, 38.431.
5. Andres Eduardo Jimenez Caicedo, Colombia, 38.445.
6. Sam Willoughby, Australia, 38.496.
7. Nicholas Long, United States, 38.601.
8. Renato Rezende, Brazil, 38.628.
9. Quentin Caleyron, France, 38.637.
10. Marc Willers, New Zealand, 38.687.
11. Maris Strombergs, Latvia, 38.697.
12. Liam Phillips, Britain, 38.719.
13. Rihards Veide, Latvia, 38.753.
14. Carlos Mario Oquendo Zabala, Colombia, 38.775.
15. David Herman, United States, 38.955.
16. Kurt Pickard, New Zealand, 39.057.
17. Khalen Young, Australia, 39.304.
18. Manuel de Vecchi, Italy, 39.385.
19. Luis Brethauer, Germany, 39.431.
20. Tory Nyhaug, Canada, 39.515.
21. Jelle van Gorkom, Netherlands, 39.529.
22. Brian Kirkham, Australia, 39.610.
23. Roger Rinderknecht, Switzerland, 39.618.
24. Emilio Andres Falla Buchely, Ecuador, 39.737.
25. Morten Therkildsen, Denmark, 39.738.
26. Ernesto Pizarro, Argentina, 39.765.
27. Arnaud Dubois, Belgium, 39.772.
28. Moana Moo Caille, France, 40.015.
29. Maik Baier, Germany, 40.231.
30. Sifiso Nhlapo, South Africa, 40.788.
31. Daniel Caluag, Philippines, 40.900.

NR. Edzus Treimanis, Latvia, DNF.



Seeding Run

Heat 1

1. Caroline Buchanan, Australia, 38.434.
2. Sarah Walker, New Zealand, 38.644.
3. Mariana Pajon, Colombia, 38.787.
4. Laetitia le Corguille, France, 38.976.
5. Shanaze Reade, Britain, 39.368.
6. Laura Smulders, Netherlands, 39.420.
7. Magalie Pottier, France, 39.778.
8. Alise Post, United States, 39.890.
9. Lauren Reynolds, Australia, 40.045.
10. Aneta Hladikova, Czech Republic, 40.846.
11. Romana Labounkova, Czech Republic, 41.096.
12. Stefany Hernandez, Venezuela, 41.253.
13. Sandra Aleksejeva, Latvia, 41.752.
14. Vilma Rimsaite, Lithuania, 42.162.
15. Squel Stein, Brazil, 42.995.
NR. Brooke Crain, United States, DNF.

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