Two World Titles for Becky James

Two World Titles for Becky James

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Junior World Track Championships 2009

August 11-15th, Moscow (Russia)

Two World Titles for Becky James

Welsh sensation Becky James has won Two World titles in the Junior World Track Championships in Moscow along with a Silver medal to make her the most successful GB Junior since Jason Kenny won three Junior Gold medals in 2006. Becky's second Gold came in the Keirin on the final day of competition.

Day 5

Women's Keirin -- Becky James -- World Champion
This was the event that got away from Becky James at the Europeans when she went too early and was rolled on the line before crashing. In Moscow, it was a much more mature, confident and experienced young lady who took to the track after winning her first world title in the Women's Sprint the day before. With little sleep and a lot of racing in the previous two days in her legs, Becky started well with a win in her opening heat in round 1. She then progressed almost effortlessly into the final where the Welsh sprinter showed what a star of the future she really is when she crossed the line to win her second title in two days.

Day 4

Women's Sprint -- Becky James is World Champion!

Photo: Ernie Feargrieve. Becky James on the podium in her first World Champions jersey.

After a momentous day 3 when Becky had broken the world record, her first challenge on day 4 were the semi finals where Becky James beat Tinashi Zhong (China) who had beaten her to the Gold in the 500 Time Trial. Becky's victory meant she would go through to the Gold medal ride off against Ekaterina Gridenko (Russia) who had beaten Annette Edmondson (Australia).

In the Gold/Silver Final, Becky won the first ride to go one up after a confident ride where she never let the Russian get past her and held on to go within one ride of winning the World title she had told British Cycling was the most important event to her, the Olympic event, the Women's Sprint. And the new World Record holder didn't let the chance of being World Champion slip out of her grip in the second match as she confidently took the front early in the match and then defied all the efforts from the Russian to come past her to cross the line first and win her first ever World title.

Her coach in Moscow, Jon Norfolk, said she looked a class above the opposition both physically and tactically and never dropped a ride in the whole competition. The young girl who admitted to being stupidly nervous before the championships will no doubt now be over the moon just as she was when she exclaimed on her Twitter page how she had become a World Record holder. Now she will be the owner of a rainbow jersey. Well done Becky!

Becky chuffed to bits with title victory

A very calm sounding new World Champion Becky James came on the phone to say "it feels good, really good to be world champion! It's surreal and it hasn't sunk in yet. I have worked so hard for it and I was so happy when I got it. I couldn't stop smiling on the podium I was so chuffed and I was thinking to myself, I can't believe it! " 

“I was nervous before the semi final against the Chinese girl because of that 500 time she did but in the flying 200 I was two tenths faster so I knew I was stronger. I went out there with a plan and they all went well.” Asked to tell us about the final rides for Gold when the pressure is much higher as those medals are tantalising within reach, Becky explained "Jon talked me through the final rides and I was able to handle my nerves a lot better than I did yesterday. I went into this event a lot more confident because I knew what I needed to do. Both the rides in the final went to plan and after the first ride when I beat her, I knew then I was stronger than her."

"I knew if I got to the front again in the second ride she wouldn't be able to get past me. In that second ride, she took the front and I knew she wanted to pin me to the fence like I had done to her. So I kept trying to dive down and get her to go down to the black line but she wouldn't budge and she kept watching me. So when she turned, I went straight underneath her and took her back up the track and it all went to plan. I went for it with about 200 or so metres to go and I didn't see her after that! Jon says I won by miles!"

Asked how she found this track in Moscow, Becky replied "it is amazing! I love it here. The transitions are awesome because you get so much speed coming off them you can ride big gears which I did in the 200 and even then I felt like I was spinning out." Becky had begun the Championship week with a silver medal and modestly said that her delay getting out of the gate wasn't an excuse for not winning. "I handled it a lot better, not winning, than I thought I would. I was upset straight afterwards but calmed down soon enough. I had Jon supporting me and I then switched my focus to the Sprint because it was the event I wanted to win the most."

Becky explained that the hardest thing leading up to the championships besides all the physical work she has had to do, has been the pressure she has put herself under. "Now I have the world title and the world record, all the pressure on my shoulders has gone, it’s great!

Becky now has the Keirin event to come but with the rainbow bands on from the Sprint, Becky is not thinking about that event yet and will keep that until the final day of the competition, Saturday. Becky knows she will find it hard to sleep tonight (Friday) with the rainbow jersey hanging up in her room looking over her and the triumph of the day still filling her thoughts but she will also get a lot of confidence from her win and after her performances in the Europeans, is in a better place mentally to handle the Keirin event. Certainly in the Sprint, Becky according to her coach in Moscow, Jon Norfolk, was in a class of her own. "Becky made her rival look pretty average in that final, she  was very impressive" Jon said as he waited with Becky to leave the track after a long day.

Men's Sprint

Great Britain started with three riders in the Men's Sprint with the qualifying going as follows:

1. Litvinenko (Rus) 10.19
2. Sam Webster (NZ) 10.20
3. Columbian Rider 10.24

8. Kevin Stewart 10.37
16. Callum Skinner 10.49
20. Lewis Oliva 10.57

This meant all three of the Brits went into the next round, the 16th finals where Lewis Oliva of Wales went out of the competition but Kevin Stewart and Callum Skinner made it through to the 1/8th finals. With the competition getting tougher, Kevin Stewart beat Italian Gasparrini to proceed to the quarter finals while Callum was beaten by Bottecher of Germany and then knocked out of the sprint competition in the repechage that followed.

In the Men's quarter final, Kevin Stewart put up a good fight against Bottecher but lost out 2:1 which meant the Scotsman was relegated to the street fight that is the minor final for places 5 to 8. In that four up battle on the Moscow track, Kevin was third and finished the competition in 7th place.

Day 3

Becky James breaks World Record! Welsh sensation who won Silver in the 500 TT, has qualified fastest with a new Junior Women World Record of 11.093. Next was Russian Gnidenko 1.11 and 500 TT winner Zhont with 11.3. The two top fastest get to miss the first round so Becky proceeded to make her way through the next rounds starting with the 1/8th finals and then in the quarter finals, beat her French rival, Baudacci, in two rides both from the front.

Also racing on the day is Kian Emadi who competed in the Kilometer. Kian did a time of 1.05.9.

Men's 1km TT    1     
1. Nikolay Zhurkin (Russian Federation) 1:03.060       
2. Loris Paoli (Italy)     1:03.078      
3. Krzysztof Maksel (Poland) 1:03.500      
4. Ethan Mitchell (New Zealand) 1:03.532      
5. Eric Engler (Germany) 1:03.875      

14. Kian Emadi (Great Britain)     1:05.951      

Women's Sprint Qualifying
1. Rebecca James (Great Britain) 11.093       
2. Ekaterina Gnidenko (Russian Federation) 11.175      
3. Olivia Montauban (France) 11.303      
4. Tianshi Zhong (People's Republic of China) 11.350      
5. Olga Hudenko (Russian Federation) 11.540      
6. Annette Edmonson (Australia) 11.613      

1/8th Round
Becky James beat Ruta Deveikyte

1/4 Final
Becky James beat Magali Baudacci of France, 2:0

Day 2 -- No Medals on Day 2

There were no medals for the Great Britain riders on day 2 of the Junior World Track Championships. Two riders, Kevin Stewart (INTERVIEW) and Kian Emadi competed in the Men's Keirin. Stewart was third in his first round heat won by eventual winner Sam Webster of New Zealand and went through to the repechages as did Kian who was 7th in his first round heat. The Brits luck didn't get any better in the reps where Stewart was one of three riders to fall and went out of the competition whilst Kian was 4th in his pre and he too failed to make it through to the next round.

Day 1: Silver for Becky James in Moscow

Double Gold medal winner at the Europeans, Becky James from Wales on her way to a silver medal in Moscow. Photo:  (

Great Britain's Welsh young sprint star, Becky James, has won a Silver medal on Day 1 of the Junior World Track Championships. Racing in the Junior Women's 500 metre Time Trial, James, who won a Gold in the Europeans with a time of 35.2, finished with a time of 35.784 on the bigger Moscow track to the winners time of 35.561 recorded by China's Zhong. Montauban of France was third (35.874). You can read an interview with Becky here

Meanwhile, in the Men's Team Sprint, Great Britain qualified 7th in an event won by New Zealand who beat Germany in the final.

Kevin Stewart leads away Kian Emadi and Callum Skinner in qualifying in the Team Sprint. Photo:  (


The Great Britain Cycling team is sending a small but powerful squad to Russia for the Junior World Track Championships. The five riders are all part of the Sprint team and will be competing against the worlds best on the exciting 333 metre indoor track in Moscow where the bankings are like ski slopes and world records have been set in the sprint events on them in recent years.

The Great Britain riders travelling are:

Rebecca James (Wales)
Kian Emadi (Engand) *
Callum Skinner (Scotland) *
Kevin Stewart (Scotland)
Lewis Oliva (Wales) *
* First year juniors.

All of the riders selected recently raced at the European Track championships where Becky James came back with two Gold medals and a Silver as well as a few scars from a fall in her final race which she has now recovered from after losing a lot of skin. Over the last two weeks, they have been preparing in Newport and Manchester and fly to Russia this week with the competition starting on the 11th of August.

The majority of the riders in the squad going to Moscow are first year Juniors who have only been on the programme since the start of this year and the World Championships is a key part of their development programme on the ODP.  “Having the double hit of the Europeans and Worlds close together, we’re able to look at a few different things such as their taper and also see how the riders are in a race environment” their coach Jon Norfolk explained. 

As is normal with sprinters, their programme has largely been training based where the team have helped them become efficient with their training on the track, road and gym but the racing environment for a major competition is a very different arena. So trips such as these help the coaches see how the riders handle travel, life in hotels and life during a taper which are just some of the ingredients which go into being a professional track sprinter.

To help them prepare for the racing outside of the competitions they have done in Germany and at the Europeans, the team have been using video analysis from coach led racing days and their drill work on the track. “The riders are responding really well to the training and every time they get on the track there is a different thing to learn and take away” explained the Olympic Development Sprint coach.

Callum Skinner in full flight in training (August 6)

There are so many aspects of ‘how to race’ that these young riders need to learn by looking at their mistakes and making a note of what went wrong as well as what has gone right. “It is a tough hill for some of them to climb because they have got to learn how to get over losing races as much as how to deal with winning races because winning and losing is all part of life as a racing cyclist.”

The team to Moscow will be lead by the two second year Juniors in the team, Becky James and Kevin Stewart. Both these riders have had good results in competitions in Germany and the Europeans this year and while the trip to the worlds is to help their  development as sprinters, the riders themselves are all fired up to get some results.

Welsh schoolgirl Becky James, who in 2008 and early 2009 had illness and injury to conquer before she could get up to speed with her training will be looking to build on her two Golds and Silver at the Europeans. Kevin Stewart meanwhile has ‘unfinished business’ to carry on at the Junior Worlds after missing out on medals at the Europeans due to small mistakes or losing crucial rides in photo finishes.

Kian Emadi training for the Time Trial event on the track.

Kian Emadi is the most local of the first year juniors going to Moscow coming from Stockport and has come up into the ODP from the Talent Team Structure. Kian has good natural speed and his coach said he could make a good sprinter or pursuiter. Lewis Oliva meanwhile is a Welsh rider who has come into cycling from rowing and with a lot of natural strength, the coaches in GB are looking at tailoring that to cycling specific events.

The final first year junior is yet another Scot following in the footsteps of many a great Scottish sprinter, Callum Skinner. “Callum has been around a few years racing and we’ve had to tweak his training but he is responding really well to it” explained Jon.

Good luck to all the riders in Moscow!

First year Junior Lewis Oliva, a former rower, will be representing GB in Moscow

Scotsman Kevin Stewart will be looking to medal at the Worlds in Moscow after just misisng out at the Europeans.

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