ZIMBABWE BMX will this year send a small group comprising only three riders to the 2016 ICU BMX World Championships which will take place in Medellin, Colombia, from May 25 to 29.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Rio Olympic Games hopeful and elite class rider Penias Tenthani (19) will lead the team that also includes former age-group world champion and Zimbabwe junior sportsperson of the year, Rebekah Oberholzer (8), and her brother, an intercontinental champion, Ben (10).
After the injury of another Zimbabwe elite rider Scott Donaldson — who was supposed to be the fourth member of the team at the South African national competitions in Durban two weeks ago — Tenthani is now the only BMX athlete with a chance to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Zimbabwe BMX president Tanya Donaldson told Standardsport that lack of funding had forced the association to send few riders, adding the preparation for the World Championship were already in full swing.
“We would obviously have loved to send more athletes to the Worlds, but funding is a major obstacle for us this time around. Scott [Donaldson] was also meant to be travelling, but unfortunately, he fell and broke his wrist during a race in South Africa recently, so he is out for six to eight weeks,” she said.
“However, preparations for the event are going well and our riders took part in the South African national age-group series held in Durban and all riders are riding exceptionally well.”
Donaldson also spoke of Zimbabwe’s Olympics interest where two riders were vying for one qualifying slot.
“We are hoping to qualify for the Olympics. We had two riders vying for the one spot, namely Penias [Tenthani] and Scott [Donaldson]. But due to Scott’s injury, only Penias will be attending the world championships and we hope he will score enough points to make it to the Olympics.”
The Zimbabwe team is currently in Gauteng, South Africa, where they are also competing, while the Zimbabwe national championship set for May 7 at Harare BMX Club will also give them some invaluable time on the track.