Cycling Australia and BMX Australia are pleased to confirm the elite & elite junior riders selected for the Australian BMX High Performance team to contest the UCI BMX World Championships being staged in Birmingham, England from 23 to 27 May.
Australia is currently the number one nation in the UCI world rankings (as at 17 April) in both men's and women's elite competition. It's this ranking that will give Australia the maximum of five starting positions (three men and two women) in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
"Our High Performance group has been working well together and challenging each other with aim of being the best in the world, not just the best in Australia," said BMX Australia High Performance Program Head Coach, Wade Bootes. "The girls are definitely doing that and having our guys in finals at world cups is pretty special as well.
"We've got some good heavy hitters in the elite ranks and some promising young riders coming through from our junior elite program," said Bootes.
Competition is fierce within Australia's ranks to be one of the five riders to line up in London and the World Championships will be a crucial qualification event for our Olympic hopefuls.
At the recent Supercross World Cup Series round in Norway Canberra's Caroline Buchanan won both the main event and the time trial medals and those results moved her to number one on the world rankings. Queensland teenager and 2011 dual junior world champion Melinda McLeod last weekend won the elite women's title at the Subaru BMX Nationals in Mt Gambier, South Australia and is ranked fourth in the world while West Australia Lauren Reynolds is in fifth place.
In the men's rankings 2009 series champion Sam Willoughby has placed second in both Supercross rounds contested this season and is the best of the Australians in second place on the world ranking. Reigning Oceania and Australian Champion Brian Kirkham is ranked seventh and Khalen Young eleventh.
While rider ranking is an important part of the nomination criteria a rider who wins a medal* in the elite class race at the World Championships will secure automatic nomination for selection by the Australian Olympic Committee in the team for London. That presents an opportunity for any riders who might not be on the radar of the selectorsand for those named today but it also adds pressure on the world ranked riders in the program to continue to deliver results.
"The race for a start at the Olympic Games is still wide open and because a lot of things can happen at a world championships if a rider can demonstrate they can get through all the rounds, get into the final and get on the podium they will have demonstrated they have prepared well and performed at world level and they deserve a spot," said Bootes.
Riders who have not been named today in the world championship team also have a chance to race with the team in Birmingham if they finish on the podium in the main event final at the remaining Supercross round being staged at Papendal in the Netherlands from 12 to 13 May.
"In the elite class everyone has a chance to put their hand up and realistically if someone does well in Holland we'll support them at the worlds," said Bootes.
(* Time trial medals not included and if more than one rider wins a medal the top placed rider will gain the automatic nomination.)
BMX 20" - Elite Men
- Anthony DEAN (Wynn Vale, SA, 22.04.1991) (Ranked 29 in the world)
- Brian KIRKHAM (Clapham SA, 01.01.1986) (Ranked 4 in the world)
- Sam WILLOUGHBY (Trott Park SA, 15.08.1991) (Ranked 2 in the world)
- Khalen YOUNG (Kelmscott WA, 20.11.1984) (Ranked 15 in the world)
- Caroline BUCHANAN (Kambah ACT, 24.10.1990) (Ranked 1 in the world)
- Melinda McLEOD (Mackay, QLD, 12.02.1993) (Ranked 4 in the world)
- Lauren REYNOLDS (Bunbury, WA, 25.06.1991) (Ranked 5 in the world)
- Bodi TURNER (Bayswater North, VIC, 18.09.1994) (Ranked 6 in the world)
- Corey FRIESWYK (Glenella, QLD, 26.01.1994) ranked 13 in the world)
- Rachel JONES (Cameron Park, NSW, 18.10.1995) (Ranked 6 in the world)