Confident Parker, 13, eyes gold
WHEN the jetlag subsides Jade Parker plans to wheel her bike down the streets of Pietermaritzburg and hit the purpose-built arena of the UCI World Championships.
Parker, 13, touched down in South Africa yesterday to contest the 14 years girls’ category of the prestigious BMX competition.
After placing third in the competition last year in Adelaide, Parker is looking to add a world championship gold medal to her trophy cabinet.
“It’s going to be tough but I’m going to throw everything I have at it,” she said.
“I’ve been training hard, and I know what to expect from competitions like this so I’ll be going into the race confident.”
It is Parker’s first time out of Australia but the teenager doubts she will have any time for sight seeing in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
“The course has been built especially for the event and I’ve never ridden it before so I’m going to need to get in all the track time I can get,” she said.
Parker secured a spot in the Australian representative team after claiming victory in the National Champ Bikx Series earlier this year.
She will face stiff competition in the world championships.
World no.2-ranked rider Hannah Sarten and Australian rival Harriet Burbridge-Smith have both reserved a spot at the starting gates.
“There’s going to be 12 girls in total and they can all ride so it’s going to be pretty challenging,” Parker said yesterday.
“It’s a pretty strong category so I’m going to have to bring my best.”
Parker underwent an intensive two-week training boot camp in Runaway Bay in the lead-up to the event under the guidance of Karl Mustchin.
She hopes the last-minute fitness overhaul will give her a bit of extra spark in the world championships.
“We did a lot of riding, a lot of jumping weights, cardio – the lot,” she said.
“It was pretty hard work so I’m hoping it pays off and I can come away with a win.”
Plucky Parker will race three heats on Friday in the hopes of making the final and earning a shot at competing for the prestigious and coveted world championship title.