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Dodd delivers his best World Championships performance yet in Colombia
- Updated: June 2, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s Olympic BMX hopeful, Kyle Dodd returned home to South Africa on Wednesday after taking part in the UCI BMX World Championships in Medellin, Colombia last week.
And the men’s elite rider will be hoping his best ever performance at a world championships will earn him a place on Team South Africa for the Rio Olympics later this year.
The Johannesburg rider missed the elite men’s quarter-finals by just one position. He ended 37th overall and aged just 22, there were only seven racers younger than him in the positions above him. So if ever there was a star for the future it’s Dodd (pictured above, right with coach Jonnathan Chislett, standing).
With rain meddling with the Medellin programme on many an occasion there were many delays as the competition unfolded.
Road to Rio 2016 got the lowdown of Dodd’s World Championships high points as he made his way home via Europe.
‘Well, what a trip just to get to Colombia, those flights are just draining!! But I can’t complain on how my riding went.
‘Day One practice was a solid 1hr 20min long with 88 of the world’s best BMXers all out on the same track. Looking at the track from the stands you get a good idea of the size of everything and the lines you want to use, but when then you actually get on the track everything looks a whole lot bigger when it’s right in front of you.
‘The track ran really fast and smooth but with a rain delay we had to wait around stay warm and focused on our training game plan. Then at 8am on Friday evening we were finally able to get onto the track, a little soft and wet but that couldn’t stop us.’
The limited practice period meant it was tricky to get the whole track sussed out but after a few runs Dodd reckoned he had most of it figured.
‘Day two’s practice came around and with another rain delay, I knew what to expect from the track and I knew exactly what I had to fix. After another 1:20 practise whatever you didn’t have fixed would have to fix itself in the time trial.’
Dodd went off 24th in the time trial but a fast start didn’t translate into success. ‘I had a great gate and a fast first straight but coming out the first corner going at the first pro jump I unfortunately tried to jump it too low and cased it, lost speed and was unable to complete the straight leaving me with a terrible time overall.’
‘I decided to not let it get me down and with a lot of motivation from my coach Jonnathan Chislett, I put that lap behind me and looked forward to the big day where it would all count.’
Race day on Sunday arrived with the sun shining. ‘I woke up and felt excited and ready to race, a little nervous but that’s only there to keep me on my toes,’ says Dodd.
‘I decided to not worry about only qualifying for Olympics. I decided to go out there and race as hard as I could, have fun and do my best because there was no need for extra pressure. I said my prayers before each race, rode to the best of my ability and left my fate in God’s hands.
‘I knew every moto was going to be tough, I went out there raced my hardest and finished with a fourth and fifth in the first two qualifiers.
‘After the first two qualifiers we had another rain delay and myself and an Australian rider ended up on the same points going into the last race. I tried my best to stay focused and not let the nerves get the better of me, but to rather go out and leave it all on the track.’
That saw him securing another fourth place which moved Dodd into the 1/8 finals.
‘I was very happy with myself because this was the first time I had ever got out of the qualifiers at a world championships in the Elite men category.
‘From there anything could happen and my goal was to raced hard and stay on the bike, I could only do everything to the best of my ability and after a tough race I managed to finish fifth and missing the quarter-finals by one position.
‘It was a tough day of racing but I was pleased with my performance. It was the furthest I had ever gotten, I raced hard and left everything out there with nothing to regret.
‘I’m not sure if I have qualified or not but I am truly happy with how my weekend went.’
It’s expected that the global body of cycling, the UCI, will finalise their Olympic qualification lists by 7 June whereafter it’s up to SASCOC to make a final decision whether Dodd has fulfilled the necessary national Rio 2016 criteria.
‘I just want to send out a huge thank you to Cycling South Africa, BMX SA and Margot Gerber for all their help and support over the years in my career.
‘Also to my parents and brother for their continued support and sacrifices they have made to get me where I am, I could never have done anything without them.
‘And last but not least my coach and best friend Jonnathan for all his hard work, dedication and motivation over the period of the Olympic cycle, who kept pushing me to carry on and whatever the outcome I’m truly thankful for all he has done.’