Sakakibara declares 'I am ready' for BMX worlds

This time, Saya Sakakibara is ready.

Buoyed by the outstanding defence of her World Cup title, the Australian BMX star will take much greater confidence into this week's world titles.

Sakakibara and Izaak Kennedy, who won the men's World Cup series for the first time, are Australia's top elite medal chances at the worlds in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

The May 16-18 world championships are the last Paris Olympics qualification event for BMX.

AusCycling also hopes to end an elite medal drought - the last men's medallist was Sam Willougby's 2014 world title, while no woman has been on the podium since Caroline Buchanan won three-straight silver medals between 2015-17.

Sakakibara and Lauren Reynolds made the women's final last year in Glasgow, but started poorly. Sakakibara finished fourth and Reynolds was sixth.

"Last year was disappointing, but looking back, I wasn’t ready to win – my preparation wasn’t the best and I was not in the best mindset," Sakakibara said.

"I have grown a lot since then, and I have confidence that this year I am ready."

Lauren Reynolds, Matt Allen and Saya Sakakibara.
Lauren Reynolds (L) and Saya Sakakibara (R) take a break in training for the Paris Games.

A month out from last year's worlds, Kennedy was badly injured when he crashed during a race.

He ruptured three ligaments in his left knee, including the ACL, as well as a bone fracture in his left ankle.

Kennedy has recovered superbly from the disaster to win the World Cup title and a big result in Rock Hill will confirm his Paris medal claims.

"I feel great and confident in how I’m riding at the moment and the good results always help. I’m just happy with where I’m at and excited for the opportunities coming up," Kennedy said.

"I’ve been putting in a lot of work on the bike and in the gym. I’ve gotten a lot stronger over the past few months."

Reynolds, Sienna Pal, Jack Davis and Joshua McLean will be the other elite Australian competitors at the worlds, while World Cup champions Oliver Moran (U23) and Teya Rufus (junior women) headline the lower categories.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store