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Low-risk approach pays off for Walker

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/05/2016
Injured Olympic medallist Sarah Walker is the only senior woman named in a seven-strong New Zealand team to contest the BMX world championships. © Getty Injured Olympic medallist Sarah Walker is the only senior woman named in a seven-strong New Zealand team to contest the BMX world championships.

Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker has taken a low-risk approach in windy conditions to qualify on the opening day of the BMX Supercross World Cup in the Netherlands.

Walker, who is back competing just 10 weeks after fracturing her arm, managed three safe mid-pack runs to qualify for the elimination motos at Papendal on Monday (NZT).

She eased through with two fourth placings and a third.

The windy conditions played havoc when defending champion, double world and Olympic champion Mariana Pajon crashed during final practice.

Her suspected dislocated shoulder may sideline the sport's biggest star from competing at the world championships, to be staged for the first time in her home country of Colombia.

Cycling NZ BMX coach Ryan Hollows said Walker was sensible in playing it safe.

"Her aim was to race through in the qualifying motos today and into the main game tomorrow," he said.

"We will see how the arm is tomorrow and the conditions, but this weekend is safety-first.

"Today's racing keeps her Rio qualification on track though, and we'll see what the weather brings tomorrow."

Both Trent Jones and Matt Cameron are also through to the elimination rounds.

Jones crashed in the opening moto, finishing seventh, but then rode strongly to grab two wins to move through.

Kiwi teammate Cameron was also in consistent form with a third, a win and a second placing seeing him safely through.

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