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Olympic BMX hopes over for Sarah Walker

NZN 29/05/2016

Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker has failed in her bid to qualify for the Games in Rio.

Injuries finally caught up with the 27-year-old, who failed to reach the quarter-finals at the world championships in Colombia.

The event was her last chance to qualify for Rio, with various injuries hampering her over the last year before a crash in practice at Medellin on Saturday again left her below her best.

Unable to raise her arm above her shoulder, she could only manage fifth in her three qualifying motos, finishing some distance behind her rivals on each occasion.

It wasn't enough to join the leading 26 riders who qualified for the quarter-finals.

New Zealand coach Ryan Hollows says Walker wasn't able to attack on any of the course's big jumps.

"It was always going to be a tough task for Sarah. It was just not stable enough for her to perform to the level that she needed," he said.

"But the processes she went through and what she had to do to get on that gate and still ride today was nothing short of remarkable and I am extremely proud of what she managed today."

Hollows says Walker will have the shoulder assessed by Cycling New Zealand medical staff when she returns home and they will make a plan from that point.

Walker was fourth when BMX made its Olympic debut in Beijing before snaring silver at London four years later.

Injuries have dogged the former world champion since, most recently fighting back from a broken arm in time to take her place in the field at Medellin.

She needed to finish in the top two individuals who had not already qualified to make it to Rio.

There was better news in the men's competition, where Matt Cameron notched two wins and a second placing to top his qualifying group. Fellow Kiwi Michael Bias won his final moto to also progress to the quarter-finals.

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