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Visa problems ground Skizo

By Mark Etheridge

Ace BMX cyclist Sifiso Nhlapo has suffered a bureaucratic setback and missed the most recent action of the European Championships in Germany.

Nhlapo, who reached the final of the BMX competition in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had been hoping to compete in the two-round weekend of action at Weiterstadt.

This as he continues his excellent recovery after a serious neck injury suffered while training in Norway last year.

But his two-month visa to race in Europe expired and despite exhaustive attempts he had to stay at his Norway base.

Nhlapo was bitterly disappointed, calling it a rollercoaster week. He explained further: “Before coming to Europe on March 8, I was given a two-month visa and had to apply for a working permit to stay longer and be able to finish the season off in October.

“I was helped by a local BMX club SOLA BMX who employed me so I could apply for the extension. It was a lot of paperwork and I submitted my application seven weeks ago at the immigration and they told me I would have the permit in time for the Germany race.

“Basically it allows me to base in Norway for more than three months and travel in anout of Norway to races I need to be at.”

“It came down to the crunch where I was holding on the phone for two hours the Friday before the race and to my disappointment I found the application was still being processed and I would miss the race.”

The man they call Skizo was gutted. “It came as a huge blow to me because I had been putting some good work in and didn’t want to sit out because of paperwork. But I guess it all happens for a reason and I’m hoping it’s sorted out. I have to thank my fans and sponsors for being patient and hope I can make it up at the next race.”

That next action happens to be round seven and eight of the European championships, in Valkenswaards, Netherlands on June 5-6.

Meanwhile the newly revised qualification period for the 2012 BMX Olympics now runs only two years in advance of the Olympics. That means that the Copenhagen stop in early May was the first UCI BMX Supercross World Cup where Olympic points could be gathered.

Skizo made the semis in Copenhagen. “The main thing was to get some points for 2012 and I did just that making it to the semi. I am putting a lot of hard work in and will be ready for the big one in South Africa in July this year.ÔÇØ

The big one is the UCT World Championships on home turf in Pietermaritzburg in late July.

As matters stand after the first round of qualifying South Africa would have two spots for the 2012 Olympics because Dean Holdstock was also in action in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile the SA team to do battle at the world championships has been announced.

Elite Men: Sifiso Nhlapo; Dean Holdstock; Gavin Lubbe; Kane Herbert; Jordan O’Keeffe. Junior Elite: Teagan O’Keeffe; Christopher Austin. Veterans 30 years and over: Sharlene McGilvray. Senior 23-29 years: Jonnathan Chislett; Shane Coulthard. Under 23 (16-23 years): Lloyd Dodd; Kyle Dodd; Wayne Gerber; Nzuzo Mngadi; Godfrey Buzibo. Junior (10-15 years): Liam Webster; Axel Webster; Kayla Eggar; Dylan Eggar; Bryce Stiebel.


2 comments
Kevin S Flee
Kevin S Flee

that licks - the guys is awesome where are our adminisrtrators who are supposed to be developing these athletes?