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Georgina top of the world

Nine-year-old Georgina Grassie was the toast of the world BMX fraternity on Thursday as she won gold on the first day of the UCI BMX World Championships in Pietermaritzburg.

The little Johannesburg schoolgirl became the nation’s newest world champion when she won her 9 Girls main final and Team SA will be hoping that’s just the start of things to come.

Grassie was all smiles, and danced cheekily on the podium after holding off a concerted charges from Kiwi girls Jesse Smith and Mikayla Bearman to scoop the world number one title, as South Africa bagged three medals on the opening day, raced under grey skies and in chilly winter conditions.

Durban racer Axel Webster grabbed the silver medal in the 11 Boys main final, while the third medal came from Nicole von Munster in the 10 Girls final where she took bronze.

New Zealand racers were dominant in the junior challenge classes, winning golds in the 13 Girls through Tahlia Hansen, 5,6 Boys through Lachlan Stevens Mcnabb, with the 7 Boys gold going to Rico Bearman

.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿There were loads of cheers for Zimbabwean riders, who enjoyed neighbourly support from the local crowd as Tyler-Shae Donaldson (5-6 Girls) and Tayne Turnock (9 Boys) scooped world titles.

US riders took home three junior world titles for world number one Julian Dittrick (8 Boys), Michael Gonzalez (11 Boys) and the stand-out junior rider Colin Hudson (13 Boys).

Grassie’s gold in the 9 Girls final crowned a thrilling start to the worlds, watched by a big crowd at the Royal Showgrounds. She took time to warm to the event, finishing third in her first moto, then a second earned her a place in the final, where she found her feet and raced away to an early lead, which, even under considerable pressure from the two new Zealanders, she never relinquished.

Australian Jaden Rice posted one of the strongest performances of the day. He shot through on the first berm turn to instantly turn the race into a dice for the silver medal.

His compatriot Jake Tunney was just as dominant as he showed his peerless class in the 12 Boys final.

In the first girls final, Argentinean rider Cingolani Francesca fell heavily on the second straight after coming off the tabletop badly, and was stretchered off to receive medical attention.

Ahead of her Zimbabwean Tyler-Shae Donaldson pulled off an audacious slice inside the first berm to slingshot into the lead, which she never looked like surrendering.

The girls racing finished with a decisive 1-2 for Japan, as Kanami Tanno capitalised on a start ramp holeshot to win the 10 Girls title, just a minute before Saya Sakakibara added another gold in the 11 Girls decider.

The girls racing ended with a New Zealand double as Tahlia Hansen and Abigail Fox ringfenced the top two spots on the podium early on in the 13 Girls final.

The afternoon session gave the big crowd a first glimpse of the form of the top elite men as they went through their first practice session on the track, and tested the start ramp and the big jump at the end of the second straight that catapults them over the challenger classes turning berm.

Sifiso Nhlapo gave his fans plenty to cheer about, while Olympic champ Maris Strombergs and Australian rising star Sam Willoughby proved that they are in top form for their showdown on the weekend.

Friday’s second day of the UCI BMX World Champs features the challenge class finals for the 14 and over juniors and the masters classes, followed by the elite junior men and women’s time trials in the afternoon.



5-6 BOYS – 1 Lachlan Stevens Mcnabb NZ, LÔÇ¿2 Emilio Durini ECU, ÔÇ¿3 Ondrej Matejik CZE

7 BOYS – 1 Rico Bearman NZL, ÔÇ¿2 Amakye Andersen USA, ÔÇ¿3 Luke Rossiter GBR

8 BOYSÔÇ¿ – 1 Julian Dittrick USA, ÔÇ¿2 Shafath Moreeano ECUÔÇ¿, 3 Wyatt Bell USA

9 BOYSÔÇ¿ – 1 Tayne Turnock ZIM, ÔÇ¿2 Reid Kuller AUSÔÇ¿, 3 Matthew Denslow ZIM

10 BOYS – 1 Jaden Rice AUS, ÔÇ¿2 Baptiste Viellard FRAÔÇ¿, 3 Broc Meter ZIM

11 BOYSÔÇ¿ – 1 Michael Gonzales USA, 2 Axel Webster RSAÔÇ¿, 3 Franco Ezeqiuel Soriano ARG

12 BOYSÔÇ¿ – 1 Jake Tunney AUSÔÇ¿, 2 Paolo Cortez ECUÔÇ¿, 3 Giovanni Fini ARG

13 BOYSÔÇ¿ – 1 Collin Hudson USAÔÇ¿, 2 Juan Carlos Diaz Serna COLÔÇ¿, 3 Brandon Te Hiko AUS

5-7, 8 GIRLS – 1 Tyler-Shae Donaldson ZIMÔÇ¿, 2 Desree Barnes AUSÔÇ¿, 3 Darcie Taylor GBR

9 GIRLSÔÇ¿ – 1 Georgina Grassie RSA, ÔÇ¿2 Jessie Smith NZLÔÇ¿, 3 Mikayla Beraman NZL

10 GIRLS – 1 Kanami Tanno JPNÔÇ¿, 2 Laurine Citi FRAÔÇ¿ , 3 Nicole van Munster RSA

11 GIRLSÔÇ¿ – 1 Saya Sakakibara JPNÔÇ¿, 2 Dion Bromley AUS, ÔÇ¿3 Shanayah Howell ARU

12 GIRLSÔÇ¿ – 1 Axelle Etienne FRAÔÇ¿, 2 Manon Veenstra NEDÔÇ¿, 3 Merel Smulders NED

13 GIRLS – 1 Tahlia Hansen NZL, ÔÇ¿2 Abigail Fox NZL, ÔÇ¿3 Annaliese Rokov AUSÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿5,