NSW Institute of Sport scholarship holder Saya Sakakibara has claimed her first elite national title at the 2021 AusCycling BMX National Championships in Nerang, capping off a perfect weekend for the Tokyo Olympian.
Gradually returning to her best since suffering a concussion in Tokyo, Saya dominated Monday’s elite women racing en route to donning the green and gold jersey.
“I think definitely relief … it’s been an amazing year,” she said.
“It’s been so good to get back onto home soil doing this National Championships.
“I haven’t been able to go for the elite national championship before, so it’s been so good to come back to Australia, especially in a place like the Gold Coast.
“I love this track and a huge thank you to AusCycling and Nerang BMX Club to put on this amazing event – it was absolutely epic.
The track looked so impeccable and it was just so awesome just to see everyone again”.
The Australian Cycling Team rider said her recovery period post-Olympics had left her feeling “disconnected” from her bike.
“But as soon as I got onto this track it was a case of familiarity I think, and I was able to feel like myself again,” she said.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster coming into next year knowing I’m on the right track and all I have to do is continue on and get back into the racing,”
“My number one goal would be definitely the World Championships in North France. I’ve always wanted to go for that rainbow jersey so that’s definitely a big goal”.
Article and images courtesy AusCycling