Emotions were high in Te Awamutu as family and friends watched Kiwi BMX racer and local Rebecca Petch make a "gutsy" comeback in her quarter-final BMX races today, going on to qualify for tomorrow's semifinals.
Petch picked herself up after she went flying over her handlebars midway through her first race when her front wheel locked up.
The devastation was clear among a room filled with her family and friends at Fahrenheit Restaurant in Te Awamutu who had gathered to watch her compete in her first Olympic Games.
She was coming third at the time of her crash and finished in fifth with a time of 2mins 01sec. Japanese rider Sae Hatakeyama also crashed and did not finish.
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Hearts briefly dropped in the room as it appeared Petch may not have joined the line-up for her second race, but relief spread as she popped out of the other side of the pit ready to go.
"I didn't see her come through the pits and when I saw that she wasn't up on the gate I was thinking she must be injured, but then she popped out the other side and she rode outstanding," says Barry Petch, Petch's father.
Her coach Matt Cameron, who is with her in Tokyo, reported back to the family that she was feeling 50/50 following her crash but was ready to get back out after some motivational words her mother, Sonya Petch, said.
"Well they worked," recalled Sonya after Petch finished in third place in her second race.
And she continued strong in her third race finishing second, to qualify for the semifinal.
"She's in for the semis, we're super proud," says Barry.
The BMX semifinals kick off tomorrow at 1pm NZT followed by the men's final at 2.40pm NZT and then the women's final at 2.50pm NZT.