Late for Nowhere

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Myanmar’s Khine Zin Moe races to bronze at Asian BMX championships

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Myanmar’s Zar Ni competes in the Elite Men moto round.

Surrounded by Asia’s best, including several with Olympic aspirations, Myanmar’s Khine Zin Moe forced herself into a medal finish at the Asian Continental BMX Championships, held in Nay Pyi Taw on October 31.

The event showcased the talents of 58 riders from 10 countries across Asia, including Japan, South Korea, China and Thailand.

The day started well for Myanmar when Khine Zin Moe posted the fastest effort in the qualifying time trial among the nine entrants in the Junior Women’s category.

Her blazing pace around the course earned her first choice of position at the starting gate in the moto round, where she finished second in her heat behind Sienna Fines from the Philippines, ranked 35th in the world.

Indonesia’s Tifiana Adine Almira Azaria, meanwhile, suffered a hard fall in the third moto that had race officials concerned she might have severed a finger, but she walked off with a deep cut and fracture instead.

In the finals no one was able to match Fines, who snatched gold just in front of world number 34 Chutikan Kitwanitsathian from Thailand. Khine Zin Moe crossed the line in the bronze position, to loud applause from the partisan home crowd.

“It was a very good experience racing against high-level international competitors,” Khine Zin Moe told The Myanmar Times after the awards ceremony. “I felt some pressure to perform, but for me it was home ground. This gave me courage to race against the others. I was not afraid at all.”

Despite her victory, Fines confessed to dealing with a fit of anxiety before the start.

“I was very nervous because it’s my first race back after a three-month injury, so I’m really happy to win,” she said.

Myanmar also made a valiant showing among the Elite Men, whose 19-deep field included 12 world-ranked cyclists. Nay Pyi Taw-based Zar Ni impressed with seventh place in the qualifying time trial, and then finished fourth in his heat in the moto round – just enough to squeak into the semi-finals.

Zar Ni (left) and the rest of the Myanmar team congregate before the start of the racing.

But it proved to be one round too far as Zar Ni was unable to find his rhythm on the track’s lumpy bits and finished outside the top four finals qualifiers in his heat.

Among the eight competitors in the finals, five were from Japan – and like the 2014 Asian Championships in Indonesia, they swept the podium: World number 39 Yoshitaku Nagasako repeated as champion, Jukia Yoshimura traded last year’s bronze for silver, and Tatsumi Matsushita crossed the line in third.

Four Myanmar cyclists line up in the Junior Men’s race. Khun Aung Thein and Kuang Htet Thar made to through the moto round and advanced to the semi-finals, where their quests for glory came to an end. Japanese riders Daichi Yamaguchi and Yuto Hasegawa took gold and silver respectively, while bronze went to Thailand’s Sitthichok Kaewsrikhao.

China’s Lan Yu (left), Amanda Carr (center) and Japan’s Haruka Seko pose with their medals.

There were no Myanmar entrants in the Elite Women’s category, which was dominated by Thai-American racer Amanda Carr, ranked 14th in the world. She crossed the line first each time she set rubber to the track, from the qualifying time trial, through the moto round and on to the finals. China’s Lan Yu had to content herself with silver, and Japan nabbed yet another medal with Haruka Seko’s bronze.

For Carr, earning International Cycling Union points in Nay Pyi Taw was another step toward her goal of representing Thailand in the 2016 Olympics.

“Olympic qualification is a two-year process, from May 31, 2014, to May 31, 2016, so I have to travel worldwide. Already this year I’ve competed over 24 times,” she said. Up next for Carr are races in Japan and Thailand, all with an eye toward Rio.

Thailand’s Amanda Carr takes out a strong lead over the remainder of the Elite Women’s field.

Written by latefornowhere

November 5, 2015 at 12:48 am

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