The 2019 Oceania’s were dominated by the dynamic duo as they take the top gong in Te Awamutu.
COVER PIC: Kai and Saya Sakakibara at the 2019 Oceania BMX Championships (Pic courtesy of the Oceania Cycling Confederation)
On Saturday (January 19), 38 of Australia’s riders made their way to the north island of New Zealand to compete at the 2019 Oceania BMX Championships.
Capturing the spotlight were the Sakakibara siblings, Kai and Saya, who won the male and female elite titles and were aptly named, the 2019 Oceania Champions.
First, it was Saya who beat home New Zealand’s Sarah Walker and Rebecca Petch to win her maiden elite Oceania title. Currently ranked second in the world, all eyes should be on the 19-year old as she begins her second year as an elite rider.
“It is pretty cool. Last year I missed out on the Oceania Championships because I was overseas competing and it is really good to come back to New Zealand, which is such an awesome country. To compete against my all-time idol (Sarah Walker) and all the other amazing competitors from Australia and New Zealand it was the icing on the cake to take the win today,” Saya said.
Following her sister was Kai, who successfully got the better of Australia’s male elite champion Brandon Te Hiko, and WA’s Brad Game to stand tall on the podium. This is Kai’s second Oceania title as an elite rider and enjoyed the competition throughout the event.
“It feels really good. I am in two different places now. Two years ago, I was still up and coming and I hadn’t had my first elite win, that was actually my first win. Whereas now I’ve had a few wins, so I felt as if I had a target on my back at this event. So, it was a different kind of pressure but felt really good to maintain my composure and ride how I wanted to,” explained Kai.
The action from the junior elites was just as intense with Tamworth’s Jack Davis (NSW) and the Cove’s Matthew Tidswell (SA) banging bars with New Zealand’s Tasman Wakelin, yet the Kiwi got the job done and the podium went Wakelin (1st), Davis (2nd) and Tidswell (3rd).
It was a similar story for the junior women elite class, as New Zealand’s Jessie Smith continued her winning ways from 2018 with a convincing victory. Following her on the podium was fellow Kiwi rider, Baylee Luttrell and Australia’s Kiana Botfield from the Pine Rivers BMX Club.
For a full list of results – CLICK HERE
A full report of the event will be included in Monday’s Tales from the Berm.
2019 Oceania BMX Championship medallists
Gold – Kai Sakakibara (Australia)
Silver – Brandon Te Hiko (Australia)
Bronze – Brad Game (Australia)
Gold – Saya Sakakibara (Australia)
Silver – Sarah Walker (New Zealand)
Bronze – Rebecca Petch (New Zealand)
Gold – Tasman Wakelin (New Zealand)
Silver – Jack Davis (Australia)
Bronze – Matthew Tidswell (Australia)
Gold – Jessie Smith (New Zealand)
Silver – Baylee Luttrell (New Zealand)
Bronze – Kiana Botfield (Australia)