Brandon Loupos claimed the rainbow jersey, Logan Martin took silver, while Natalya Diehm moved Australia a step closer to Olympic qualification, in a dominant display by Australia in the BMX Freestyle finals at the 2019 Urban Cycling World Championships in China on Sunday.
“It (rainbow jersey) has been my phone background for 365 days, now it is on my chest, I can’t believe it. I am absolutely speechless,” said Loupos, the 2018 World Championship bronze medallist.
“It just shows you dreams can come true if you put your mind and heart to it and you just go for it.”
Loupos, 26, began Sunday’s final in unfortunate circumstances, crashing on a backflip attempt in his first run. However, in a stunning second run, Loupos shot to the top of the leaderboard with a double backflip, flair whip, a 1080, a 720 into a double whip transfer and cash roll, before ending with a five flair scoring 93.20 points.
“I can’t believe what is going on right now, especially after crashing in my first run. I was thinking about whether I should change my run or stay consistent for my second run,” Loupos said. “But I said stick to the plan, went out there and just charged.
“I put everything into God’s hands, I asked the Lord to give me the strength to get through the second run. Thank you to the man above watching over me, not for giving me the world title, but for allowing me to finish my run fit and healthy and be able to ride again tomorrow.”
Sydney’s Loupos opened the 2019 season in stunning style by recording the highest score ever recorded at a World Cup at the first round in Japan in April. In September, he claimed gold at the inaugural Urban Games in Hungary.
“I couldn’t be happier. So stoked to be standing here right now, stoked to be Australian and representing Australia,” said Loupos, who is targeting a spot on the Australian team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where the discipline will make its Olympic debut.
“My goal is to represent my country, I feel just being there (Tokyo) would be winning, but I want to go there and not just get a medal, but win a gold medal for my country.”
2017 world champion Logan Martin scored 92.90 in a clean first run to sit just behind his teammate in second. But Queensland’s Martin was felled by a flat tyre in his second run, the final run of the day, which sealed the world title for Loupos.
“I was feeling good all weekend, and during practice today I also got a flat so I had to regain my composure, get my wheel fixed and back into the zone and do the run I had planned,”said Martin, 25, the dual 2019 X Games gold medallist who also finished the 2019 FISE World Series in second overall. “I did that and it got me into second place, but in my second run, I, unfortunately, got another flat.
“But congratulations to Brandon, it was a great result for Australia.”
Queensland’s Natalya Diehm, 22, launched Australia into contention for the women’s competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after a stunning World Championship debut for Australia.
Diehm, finished sixth in the BMX Park Final to move Australia closer to securing a position at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“My first run didn’t go as planned, but I did my best in my second run, even though I was trying to play it safe,” Diehm, who took out the 2019 Vans BMX Pro-Skate Park Series in her first international season.
Only nine women will get to contest the Freestyle competition in Tokyo, which will be comprised of two riders from the top-ranked nation, one rider from each nation ranked second to fifth, and one rider from host nation Japan. The final two spots will go to the next two best countries outside the top five at the end of qualifying in May.
“I am super happy for myself, and everyone here, and I hope this means we get a spot at the Tokyo Olympics,” added Diehm.
Martin, Loupos and Diehm will head back to Australia where they will contest the Oceania Championships in Melbourne followed by the 2019 Cycling Australia National Championships in Brisbane this December.
Courtesy of Cycling Australia