FOCUSED: Sarah Walker is aiming at competing at next year’s Olympic Games as she continues her recovery from a major crash last year. Photo Fairfax

 

FIVE months after a career-threatening injury, Kawerau Olympian Sarah Walker is encouraged by huge improvements.

The 26-year-old BMX rider suffered a concussion, broke six bones, including broke both her arms, in a crash in the final round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in California in September. Walker described the crash was just one of those things that happen in BMX. In spite of challenging times in the early part of her recovery, where she needed help to brush her teeth, Walker was determined to continue.

“I just had to rest, but I had no choice as both my arms were broken. It also meant no TV, reading or using the computer. It wasn’t easy. I had a good network around me.”

Walker said the rock-hard surface at California was one of the reasons the outcome was so bad.

“The scariest part is that when you break bones, they can and sometimes be stronger. When you injure your head it can get much worse.

“But I can’t be worried about it. I can’t hold back, but I do have to be sensible. I am getting back to where I was. Since the crash I have met with neurologists and they are happy with how it is going.”

The crash continued an unfortunate injury run for the 2012 Olympic silver medallist. After shoulder surgery in 2012 Walker had an elbow fracture and another shoulder problem the following year.

Walker had an agonising fourth-place finish in the Olympic debut of BMX in 2008 before claiming the silver medal in London four years later.

Now symptom free, Walker said she had made hug progress and had her sights set on the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games next year.

“Qualifying has already started, so plan B is 12 months of racing starting in June. I feel I can get back to what I was doing in 2012, but I will need to be faster to do well in Rio. The girls especially have lifted a lot.”

Before heading overseas, Walker is aiming to compete at the New Zealand Championships in Christchurch next month. Not getting too far ahead of herself, Walker said she would be there to “give it a crack”.

Other major events on the calendar include the first qualifying event in Canada in June and the World Championships in Belgium in July.

Source: Whakatane Beacon