"Rio is not over".

Those are the brave and determined words from BMX star Sarah Walker, who has suffered more broken bones less than six months out from the Olympic Games and now faces increased qualification pressure.

Cycling boss Mark Elliott is also bullish about the 2012 London silver medallist's ability to reach optimum Olympic fitness following a training accident this week which caused a double left arm fracture.

But the 27-year-old's Olympic place may come down to an all-or-nothing bid at the world championships in Colombia in late May, where gold or silver would guarantee her a start in Rio. If she finishes below that, an Olympic place would depend on who finished ahead of her.


Walker will miss ranking events in Argentina and England and is a rough chance to race again in Holland in early May. World cycling qualification systems are complex, and Walker's situation is made tougher without another woman capable of assisting New Zealand win one of the 10 quota spots in the small Olympic women's field of 16.

The Bay of Plenty raised, Cambridge-based Walker should have been one of New Zealand's better gold medal prospects before a series of injuries robbed her of races and qualification points. Her left arm is now encased in plaster to repair upper arm and wrist bones.

Sarah Walker recovering in hospital in America after a bad fall from her bike in 2014. Photo / Twitter
Sarah Walker recovering in hospital in America after a bad fall from her bike in 2014. Photo / Twitter

Walker told the Herald: "I was doing something the guys do - I pushed a little too hard with the legs through the middle of the jump...my body went too far back.

"It's not too bad - to me broken bones are easy fixes. Compared to other things I've been through, it's not a big hurdle. It's just part of the journey."

The former world champion has suffered 15 bone breaks - 13 in her arms and hands - in various accidents. The worst in California two years ago caused severe concussion and six broken bones. But her amazing comeback hit top gear last month with a win over Australia's best in the Oceania championships.

High performance manager Elliott said: "We've seen in the past how Sarah can overcome serious injuries - you can only look at an athlete's history in these situations. She has come back from those to be in the best shape of her life."

31 Jan, 2016 5:41pm
3 minutes to read