It has already been reported that Latvian BMX cyclists Helvijs Babris and Vineta Pētersone, making their debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Thursday, did not overcome the barrier of the quarterfinals.
Babris finished the Olympics in 20th place, but Petersone – in 21st place.
Six athletes, both men and women, took part in the Tokyo Games in each of the four quarter-finals, with three races each. The second day of the competition was reached by the 16 best among 24 riders, but eight will win the place in the final.
Babris finished fifth in the first of three quarter-finals, ahead of one competitor. He also had to settle for fifth position in the second race, although at one point he was sixth.
To reach the semi-finals, Babrim had to finish three positions higher than the Argentine Nicolas Torres. The Latvian was the sixth part of the track, but in the last straight line he overtook Torres, which was not enough to reach the semi-finals.
“Those weren’t the best races, but overall I’m happy with the result. Of course, the goal was to qualify for the semi-finals, but that’s the way it is. I’m happy,” Babris said after his debut at the Olympics.
“I made mistakes in the first two races, which also cost a place in the semi-finals,” says the BMX cyclist about the start on the difficult Tokyo track. “Before the third race, the point difference was so big that it was hard to get to the semifinals.”
Athletes have previously emphasized in talks with journalists that the Tokyo BMX track is longer and also technically difficult. The same was emphasized by Babris, who liked the track.
“Driving in the second turn, you could already feel that your legs are ‘full’. It was difficult to drive the last two straight, but in general I liked the track,” explains the two-time Latvian champion. “It seemed windless. The hooks were already” sewn “in the training, so it didn’t make much difference today.”
“The second race was the best. I just had to drive more aggressively on the first straight. I think the second race was the best,” the athlete commented on his performance.
Babrim had to compete with world champions Nika Kimman from the Netherlands and his compatriot Twan van Ghent in his trip. The athlete expressed confidence that the semi-finals were achievable.
At the Tokyo Olympics, members of each group made three trips. The four best from each group, who had the lowest number of points in the total, qualified for the semi-finals. Previously, you could qualify for the next round at the Olympics with lap time.
“In an eight-athlete competition, the races would be more interesting because they would ‘mix’ and the scoring would be more interesting,” Babris comments on the new qualifying procedure. “With six athletes, the difference in points was small, so each race was by weight. Also the selection [olimpiskajām spēlēm] was much fiercer. “
Babris finished the quarterfinals with fifth place in his group and 15 points. The Latvian athlete beat only the Canadian James Palmer, who had 16 points. This group was dominated by the Dutch Kimmans and van Gents, who prevented the others from entering the top two on all three races, winning four and five points respectively. Brazilian Rina Rezend had ten points and Nicolas Torres had 13 points.
Babra’s biggest success to date is the third place in the BMX supercross at the World Cup in Colombia at the beginning of the year.
The greatest Olympic success in this sport has been achieved for Latvia by the first Olympic champion in this discipline Maris Strombergs, who won in 2008 in Beijing, defending his title in London four years later.
The Tokyo Olympics will run until August 8.
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