The 2012 season is up and running for our 2008 Beijing Olympics BMX ace Sifiso Nhlapo.
The bicycling bullet know as Skizo made the final at the last Olympics where BMX was making its debut but, when in a possible medal position, he crashed at the second turn to see his Olympic dreams turn to dust.
It’s been an up and down time for the Gauteng athlete. The year after the Olympics saw him consistently make finals as well as winning in Europe until he crashed in training in Norway before the European Championships and broke his neck, fracturing his C3 and C4 vertebrae.
He spent the next 10 months undergoing rehab, having physio and getting fit as his goal was to race the 2010 World Championships in Pietermaritzburg in front of his sponsors, fans, family and friends. This was his time to show his country and for them to physically see the South African BMX Star in action. Nhlapo almost not transferring out one of the moto’s, came back to finish an impressive second in the Main event.
Then last season was a disaster for the MTN/Qhubeka rider as he was injured in the beginning of the year and getting reconstructive surgery of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his knee.
Said Skizo: ÔÇ£2011 was a really tough year and I’m really fortunate that I have kept the same sponsors for pretty much my whole pro career to date, this has helped as we have great relationships and they have seen me bounce back before. This year was incredible with the support they have shown which has enabled me to get back my full fitness, all I’m lacking now is some race experience again…”
The 2012 season has now kicked off for Sifiso and he is on his way to Austria to the Red Bull DTC to check his strength, fitness and what can still be fine tuned before his first event in Manchester this month.
One exciting change for the MTN/Qhubeka rider is that he has moved off his South African brand Morewood BMX and will be riding his own brand of BMX in the future, namely “1zero5”, his racing number.
Why the move to his own brand? ÔÇ£Firstly I would just like to thank Morewood Bikes for being part of their project and riding a proudly South African brand, I just wish I could have put it on the podium more for them last year. They have a lot of exciting developments and I think there will be some great BMX bikes coming out of their factory in the future.
“But I think the timing was perfect to start up a bike brand with the Olympics around the corner. The opportunity to start something for myself for the future is exciting and I’m hoping it goes well. Focus is still the Olympics and after that when we have some down time we will start working more on the development of the bikes to get some out into the market.
“Its a big step to try and start a bike brand and I’m sure it will have its challenges but we are ready to make the first step and try make it work. It makes me think of what I can do for the sport of BMX in South Africa and around the world.
“Having the Qhubeka logos on my first few frames is just a little something I did to create awareness about the initiative. My race bikes will be black and yellow which are the team colours for Team MTN/Qhubeka. This brings me closer to the team in more ways than one.ÔÇØ
In closing we asked Sifiso if he was once again ready for the challenge to qualify for the London Olympics as South Africa don’t have many riders collecting points for the country and South Africa’s nation ranking is currently 17th. It seems that should he make the podium at world’s in London he will all but be in the team but there’s a long, tough road ahead for the plucky little fighter.
Skizo concluded: “I’ve been in this situation before so I know exactly what I need to do, big mountain ahead but I have climbed it twice before so I will be prepared and give it 200% because that’s what its going to take, nothing less!”