Venezuelan BMX champion Stefany aims for Olympic gold

Caracas, Feb 3 (IANS) Perseverance and determination are the words that define Venezuelan cyclist Stefany Hernandez, the BMX world champion, who is preparing to take gold at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro in August.

“I want to be an Olympic champion,” the cyclist told Xinhua on Tuesday while adding that her training regime to achieve this goal began in 2013 when she decided she wanted to try to qualify for Rio 2016 and win the gold medal for Venezuela.

In a sport as demanding as cycling, the challenge may sound beyond the average person, but when talking about Stefany, the dream is within reach.

On July 25, 2015, Stefany won the BMX World Championship in Zolder, Belgium. With this title, Hernandez became the first Venezuelan champion in world BMX-ing, after attending the championship five times.

“There is nothing more gratifying that winning for Venezuela,” said the cyclist.

In the International Cycling Union (UCI) world ranking, updated at the end of 2015, Stefany is in second place with 1,615 points while Colombian Mariana Pajon is in first place with 1,620 points.

“Today I am the world number two, after so much sacrifice but with perseverance and dedication I will aim to the first in the 2016 ranking because I have prepared 100 percent for this,” said Stefany.

She was in the city of Medellin, Colombia, recently where she met with the best representatives of world BMX-ing as part of her training on her way to the Olympics.

“I will return to Medellin in May for the World Championship 2016. After this competition, the BMX cyclists who have qualified for Rio will be announced,” said Stefany.

Stefany’s performances in the 2015 competitions allowed her to advance in the UCI ranking. In July she was ranked fourth with 1,310 points. She moved up to the third place with 1,465 points in August and ended the year in second place.

The Olympic qualifiers, that will close on May 30, will grant the first three countries in the ranking table two places each at the sporting event in August.

“If we want titles we have to work hard for them. It is only a matter of setting targets. I have worked together with my trainers and we have had good planning and we have become a good team,” said Hernandez.

The cyclist thanked the Sports Ministry and Venezuela’s Olympic Committee for their support and for giving her an Olympic Solidarity Grant to train in Switzerland.

Rio’s Olympics will be the cyclist’s second Games after she came ninth in London 2012.

Stefany is the youngest of three siblings from Guayana in southern Venezuela.

In 2009, at 17-years-old, Stefany joined the national BMX team and began competing in international competitions always with a view to winning an Olympic gold medal.

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