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Teagan on the rise

By Mark Etheridge

The bad news is that a technical problem cost BMX superstar Teagan O’Keeffe dearly in the final of the BMX Supercross event in Chula Vista, at the weekend.

The good news is that she’s over it, and everything is still going according to plan and she reckons she’s achieved her goals for the year.

O’Keeffe, currently just 18 years old and a Youth Olympian last year, made her first Elite women’s Supercross BMX final in the season’s final event and ended eighth after an incident at the start.

Her time in the final was 39.167 sends, compared to American winner Arielle Martin’s 35.834. Encouraging for the youngster is that she ended the 2011 season ranked 14th of 52 elite women’s racers.

The Swiss based KwaZulu-Natal athlete, the second youngest of the world’s elite racers, took Road to London 2012 through her exciting weekend’s racing at the United States Olympic Center in California.

“I went into this final round of the BMX supercross with a lot more confidence due to the outstanding result I achieved at the London Olympic Test Event [a few weeks back] but I also had higher expectations of myself.

“I was really excited to get on the track on Thursday. I felt fresh but a little nervous about the first straight as it has some really big jumps. As soon as got my mind right (when you are scared, that’s when you tend to crash). I went for the first straight and┬áit turned out really easy for me. The rest of the track was good too. I battled a little on the third straight but all in all I was happy with the way training went for the day.”

The next day saw the time trial qualifying round. “Going into the time trial qualifications, I did a really smooth first straight, felt good and was in fourth place but with one little mistake down the third straight, I messed up and slipped to 15th place ÔÇô still I was happy to make the Super Finals (top 16) and get another chance on the track.

“After being at the track all day in the heat, my body started to feel tired and my legs were dead, and to top it all the wind got me in the super final going down the first straight and I was unable to put in ┬áa smooth lap and finished in 16th place ÔÇô but I was still really happy with this result and just knowing that tomorrow was race day ÔÇô my kind of thing!”

Then came Saturday and race day and O’Keeffee was fired up to do well. “I wanted to give it my best and achieve the goal I had set myself ÔÇô make a Supercross final. With the USA girls racing on their home track, I knew it was going to be tough. In Moto 1 I put in a really good lap and finished fourth, in Moto 2 the girl next to me jumped sideways and took me down with her ÔÇô I finished sixth but really hurt my leg and back in the crash. Then in Moto 3 I had to give it my all to qualify through and finished fourth and making it through to the semi where I finished third and securing my first ever spot in an Elite woman Supercross BMX final.

The final dawned and it was here that O’Keeffe really came up against. “I gave it my all on the start gate for the final but hit the gate causing me to have no second pedal and speed to get down the start ramp ÔÇô I was really angry at myself for this mistake but I fought to the finish line and finished eighth.”

But she’s already looking down the road to even better things. “I am really pleased with my progress and the way I have finished the 2011 season ÔÇô ┬áat the beginning of the season, Thomas [Allier], my coach, and I sat down and outlined my goals for the year and I am pleased to say it is all going according to plan and I look forward to setting and meeting my goals for the 2012 season.”


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