Olympian cuts track ribbon

Keen Mosgiel BMX rider Cody Heger (5)  admires Sarah Walker’s Olympic silver BMX medal. Photos:...
Keen Mosgiel BMX rider Cody Heger (5) admires Sarah Walker’s Olympic silver BMX medal. Photos: Lynda van Kempen.
New Zealand’s first Olympic BMX medallist, Sarah Walker, cut the ribbon on Saturday to open her "home" track at Cromwell.

At the function to celebrate the official opening of the $400,000 facility, compere Greg Wilkinson noted Walker now owned land at Hawea and intended to spend winter and summer holidays there.

"This will be the nearest BMX track to you, so it’ll be your home track," he pointed out.

Bike park committee president Pierre Leyser said the project took more than five years and 60-odd meetings and masses of fundraising ventures to become a reality. The track was where the town’s skating rink was once located.

The project was the vision of Gary Smith and was the culmination of much hard work and fundraising, Mr Leyser said, paying tribute to the committee members.

"It’s a lovely masterpiece."

The riders wait for the opening formalities to be over so they can head around the track again.
The riders wait for the opening formalities to be over so they can head around the track again.
The Central Lakes Trust donated funds to the project and trustee Alex Huffadine said giving money "was probably the easiest part of the project".

"It’s hard to get these things off the ground and I’d acknowledge the committee for its efforts and you’ve had a whole herd of volunteers in behind you."

The Otago Community Trust also donated funds, and trustee John Wilson praised the volunteer input.

Cromwell Community Board chairman and Central Otago deputy mayor Neil Gillespie said the board had been a long-time supporter of the park. Without the hard work of the volunteers, the facility would never have reached fruition.

Walker told the young BMX riders how lucky they were to have such an amazing facility on their doorstep. As a youngster, she had to travel one and a-quarter hours each way to reach her nearest BMX track. She was still recovering from a shoulder injury and was riding around the track on Saturday "with strict instructions not to crash", she said. However, a few broken bones and injuries was nothing in the bigger scheme of things and it was important to always live life to the fullest. 

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