BMX rising stars Kyle Dodd (18) and Themba Hlophe (19) personify the mantra of the sport: ride it like you stole it.
Dodd rides for Alrode BMX Club while Hlophe competes in the colours of Germiston BMX in the elite division.
The duo are making inroads on the local circuit, burning the rubber in the Gauteng BMX championships.
Dodd and Hlophe, who were team-mates at Alrode from 2010 until last year, are driven by the common goal of becoming the next South African BMX Olympians after their hero Sifiso ‘Skizo’ Nhlapo.
The three have been selected for the BMX World Championships in New Zealand next month.
Nhlapo has been to two Olympic Games since BMX debuted at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he narrowly missed out on a medal in the final.
Scarred elbows and battered collarbones is proof enough that Dodd and Hlope have taken serious knocks on their way up. Their ascendancy up the sport’s ladder is also characterised by contrasting hardships.
Dodd recently returned from the Supercross Championships in Argentina with a broken collarbone and is racing against time to get fit to race in the remaining two events in Canada and the US.
He will miss the next Supercross in the Netherlands next weekend.
Hlophe has just recovered from a fractured collarbone that had sidelined him for six weeks.
“We do it for the love of the sport. We are not supposed to fall and these are just freak accidents,” said Dodd, who comes from a family of cyclists.
His father Alan is a mountain biker while his brother Lloyd also rides BMX.
Hlophe hails from Alexandra where he sometimes has to cycle 20km between his home and Germiston for training and competition.
“These are some of the sacrifices I make because I struggle with transport,” said Hlophe, adding that “Kyle, Skizo and I have come a long way togeth-er and we are still very much in touch despite riding for different clubs”.
“My dad used to sell newspapers and my mom is a creche minder. I hope the sport will change my life one day to make a difference at home. But I’m taking it one step at a time.
“Skizo gave me a new BMX in January,” he said of the bike he got from Nhlapo that is worth R9 000.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, remain a common goal for Hlophe and Dodd.
“Skizo’s shoes are big to fill, but I want to deliver top performances on the local circuit and ultimately reach my dream of qualifying for the Olympics,” said Dodd.
Another common factor between the two is that they share a trainer – Jonathan Chislet.
Durban-based Chislet is a national coach and he guides his charges through programmes that they share online and over the telephone whenever the boys need his advice.
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