Holly Oldham captured the New Zealand under 14 girls BMX title in Te Awamutu on Friday (14 April 2017). image central caught up with Holly who is feeling pretty stoked with her success.
Words Adrian Morgan | Images Clare Toia-Bailey
The 2017 National Championships saw a strong squad of riders from the Alexandra and Cromwell BMX clubs heading to Te Awamutu this week (14 to 16 April 2017).
The squad now includes two NZ champions (Holly Oldham – girls 14 years and Charlie Leyser – boys 7 years) a second (Tamai Riwhi), 3rd (Nathan Adair – Male 25-29 years) and a 5th (Tahlia Nelson – girls 10 years) and a 7th (Duncan Sutherland – 16 years Boys). This is an amazing result for the two very small BMX Clubs.
Holly had a close tussle with Maia Colman Savage from the Central Hawkes Bay and qualified for the final in equal first place after four qualifying races. But it all came together in the final, as Holly says,
“I was pretty nervous before the race and just tried relaxing. I got a pretty good start and managed to stay in front the whole way!”
At the start of the year Holly decided to give up her other sports including swimming and softball to focus solely on BMX. She has been training every Tuesday and Thursday night at the Alexandra Club and does additional training with her coach whenever they can schedule a session.
Holly says that she is on her bike every day of the week either doing sprints or at the track. Her coach, Nathan Adair, is an accomplished local rider and achieved a 3rd placing in the 25-29 years age group at the recent National Championships.
In the lead up to the National Championships, Holly has been competing in events as a member of the LKI / DK Bicycles BMX Team. Events have been held all over the South Island including Invercargill, Dunedin and a couple of trips to Christchurch for training and racing.
INFLUENCES & INSPIRATION
Holly was inspired to take up the sport after writing a speech at school after the London 2012 Olympic Games. Holly chose to write her speech on Olympic silver medallist, Sarah Walker. After showing her interest in the sport she says that “… one of Dad’s mates was running the Alex BMX club at the time and told me to come along.”
Holly had the chance to meet with Sarah at her first race meet and (2012) and saw her again when the new Cromwell BMX facility was opened in October last year.
Holly says that Sarah Walker has had a huge influence on her decision to take up BMX and to focus on it, as she says,
… Sarah’s a girl and she’s so determined. Despite all the injuries she’s had, she’s still pushing on and giving her best.
In Te Awamutu on Saturday, Sarah Walker captured another title at the National Championships. The 2012 London Olympic Games silver medallist has had to overcome a series of injuries including a broken arm in a training injury early last year which prevented her from qualifying for the Rio Olympics. Like Sarah, Holly was coming back from injury this year, she couldn’t attend the 2016 National’s due to concussion.
Holly also credits her coach, Nathan Adair, as having a lot of influence on her development, she says that “Nathan has spent a lot of time with me at training and supporting me at my race meets.”
Holly, who comes across as quietly determined, maturely says that she enjoys the challenges that come with BMX racing,
“… it really shows what you are really capable of when you put your mind to it. You are capable of doing a lot more than what you think you can do.”
She also enjoys the friendships that come with her involvement in the sport, as she says “everyone is so supportive and you build up a lot of friendships as well as bike skills”.
When asked about her BMX dream, a modest and considered Holly hesitates, before saying that she would like to represent New Zealand at an Olympic Games. Holly quietly shared that she would not be aiming for the next Olympics (Tokyo 2020) but the one after that (2024) which will be held in either Los Angeles or Paris.
Leading into the National’s Holly’s aim was to become a National Champion in her age group. Then she said “Mum (Carole Gillons) may take me to Worlds which is Rock Hill, USA in July”. So now Holly has qualified, there are sure to be a few discussions about this over the dinner table at home.
Well the dinner conversation went well for Holly and she’s off to the National Champs in the USA! You can help support her via the following fundraising events:
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