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Earlier this year BMX Australia asked a group of our development academy riders who they believed was the ‘best at applying themselves’ – the answer was unanimous, Kai Sakakibara.

With a distinguished reputation as one of the hardest working riders on the international BMX circuit, Kai Sakakibara means serious business and is wasting no time in asserting himself as one of Australia, and the world’s, top competitors.

Earlier this year BMX Australia asked a group of our development academy riders who they believed was the ‘best at applying themselves’ – the answer was unanimous, Kai Sakakibara.

“I’ve always been someone to strive to do as much as I can to achieve what I want to accomplish, so to be perceived like that is quite humbling,” Sakakibara said.

And accomplish he has, Sakakibara had a ground-breaking first half of the year, taking out first place honours in both the Oceania championships and the national championships.

“This year has been a good year for me, winning both the Oceania championships and national championships were huge confidence boosters.”

Nevertheless, at just twenty-one years of age, Sakakibara is still young and emphasises that 2017 isn’t just all about winning for the Southlake Illawarra BMX club rider, it’s about growing and learning.

“Rather than the results altering my perception of what can be achieved, its rather the other way around, I am focusing on where I am physically, mentally and believing in myself. That’s what has brought about the results for me this year.”

“Throughout the course of the year I have been able to develop really good mental habits and strength.”

Sakakibara needed just that at this year’s UCI BMX World Championships, where he competed in the elite men’s event.

Sakakibara showed extremely promising form in the early motos of the event but unfortunately just missed out on a semi-final spot after a mistake only metres away from the finish line. A heartbreaking end to the championships and ultimately a 20th place finish.

So, what is next for Sakakibara?

“To be honest I only had everything planned up to the world championships in detail, other than that nothing is confirmed. For me it’s about getting home now and getting settled then making my plan for the rest of the year and 2018.”

One thing is for sure, Sakakibara is a wise head on young shoulders, and we have no doubt that the young rider will continue to develop his craft over the coming months, with 2018 promising to be even more successful than this year.

Photo Credit: @kenichiinomata