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Old 24th November 2011, 12:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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S'pore hosts its first BMX championship

S'pore hosts its first BMX championship



One lap takes anywhere from 30 seconds for the elite riders to a minute for younger novices to complete.

Rennie Whang
Wed, Nov 23, 2011
The New Paper


AT THE inaugural Singapore BMX National Championship at Tampines Bike Park on Saturday, MrZulkifli Sardi, 50, was on the sidelines watching his two sons compete.

The driver started cycling when he was 12 years old on what he considered an "old school, leisure bike".

But after watching the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982, he was inspired to take up BMX cycling. He entered competitions held in Tuas.

And this love for BMX bikes has trickled down to his sons, Amir Hamzah, 13, and Muhammad Ali, 10. They have been competing since they were eight years old.

Said Mr Zulkifli: "Biking builds character. You learn to focus and discipline yourself. Out of training and racing, you can apply these habits to your daily life."

Indeed, the demands of BMX racing are varied.

According to Mr Kenneth Wee, vice-president of the Singapore Cycling Federation (BMX), it is more technically demanding than road and mountain biking.

Speed, agility needed

Pointing to the bike park's course, which was built for last year's Youth Olympic Games, he said: "First, there's the gate start, followed by a pure power sprint, for which you need power and leg speed.

"Then, there's jumping over obstacles, for which you need to pick up the front wheels of your bike, pumping, where you push with your legs, and another sprint to the finish."

One lap takes anywhere from 30 seconds for the elite riders to a minute for younger novices to complete.

The sport is picking up speed in Singapore, with more than 300 registered BMX riders.

The Singapore Cycling Federation organised six races this year and is aiming for 10 next year.

At Saturday's event, 28 riders competed in five categories.

Amir Hamzah, who took part in the men's junior category (for boys 13 to 18 years old), came in third. His younger brother, Muhammad Ali, was second in the junior category, for under 13-year-olds.

Said Mr Zulkifli, who last raced in July's Rush 4 race and came in third in the master's category: "(Competitions) are no joke. I must do everything perfectly."

The family trains every weekend at the Tampines Bike Park, sometimes for the whole day.

Mr Zulkifli's wife, Madam Salha Samsuddin, 49, does not ride, but considers herself the "logistics and first-aid department of the family".

The housewife is always on hand when they train and even coaches the children, using knowledge gained from books on sports training.

There's no stopping for this family and their 20-inch BMX bikes.

Said Amir Hamzah: "In the past, my dad would ask me to train even though I sometimes didn't feel like it; but now I just love biking."

And his father added: "As long as I live, as long as Singapore has a track, I'll be racing."

Source: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2...23-312126.html

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