Teagan powers on | SASCOC - SASCOC

Teagan powers on

Olympic BMX hopeful Teagan O’Keeffe continued to make good progress in her bid to be part of Team South Africa in London later this year, writes Mark Etheridge.

Young O’Keeffe, 19, has heaps of talent and finished fourth in the BMX event at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore two years ago and then won the junior cruiserweight division at World BMX championships in Pietermaritzburg the same year.

Originally from Kloof outside Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, O’Keeffe has been based at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland for some years now under the tutorship of coach Thomas Allier.

She’s one of a good few up and coming BMX youngsters at the WCC┬á who have their sights set on the Olympics. Track ace Bernard Esterhuizen, also from KwaZulu-Natal, is another South African based at the centre.

O’Keeffe swopped sunny South Africa for snow-covered Switzerland in late January to continue her Olympic preparations. The Aigle track was completely snowed under and she and coach Allier headed south to the south of France but the snow followed them and six-hour training sessions were completed on snow-covered tracks.

ÔÇ£It’s my dream to go to the Olympics,ÔÇØ says South Africa’s Teagan O’Keeffe, training at the WCC for her third season now. ÔÇ£I would really like to represent my country.ÔÇØ

For that dream to come true, she’ll need at least a semi-final placing at World Championships in Birmingham later this year. Still, she ended 2011 on a high note, qualifying for the semi-finals at the London round of the BMX Supercross series.

Says O’Keeffe’s mom, Dawn: “In recent tests, Teagan’s power has improved so much and her coach Thomas is really excited.┬áIn her first race of 2012, at Manchester, she was in a really good position, in fact leading into the first corner in the semi-final but messed up in the first corner by misjudging it and therefore did not make it through to the main race.

“But the next day she made it to the final, drew the outside gate eight and managed to come sixth overall.

“She says she has all this new-found power but just needs to learn how to apply it more effectively in the corners so the first race of 2012 was a little rusty but still a good result and with more to come.”