Phillips fully focused on making Olympic BMX final

Phillips fully focused on making Olympic BMX final

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Great Britain’s Liam Phillips has quickly turned his attention to making the men’s Olympic BMX final and putting himself firmly in the mix for a medal.

The 23-year-old looked confident as he booked his place in Friday’s semi-finals, a trio of second place finishes to world number two Connor Fields (USA) assured his progression without the need for all five runs.

In a session which was marked by a number of crashes, Phillips - a quarter-finalist in Beijing - believes avoiding incident could be the key to getting into the final eight.

"It's just survival, it's getting to that final," he said. "Any one of the eight riders that make that final tomorrow have got a chance to step on the top of the podium.

"I'm not bothered whether in the semi-finals tomorrow I scrape through in eighth place. I know if I do that I've got just as good a chance has anybody to come away with a medal, so that's the plan."

World champion Sam Willoughby as well as defending Olympic champion Maris Strombergs avoided a shock early exit, but it was Fields - who won UCI BMX Supercross rounds in Randaberg and Chula Vista as well as edging out Phillips for the time-trial world title in Birmingham – who was the most impressive and Phillips marked him out as the favourite for gold.

"The most important thing is to make it to day two," Phillips added. "It's not straightforward I can assure you, but I enjoyed it.

"I'd say Connor is the favourite coming in to the Olympics. He's a fantastic rider. He had the inside (line), and it's hard to beat someone when they've got the inside, but to be up there and be competitive into turn one, I can take a lot of positives from that."

"The 16 guys that make the semis tomorrow will be of equal ability and it will be whoever produces the goods in each race."

Semi-final draw

Heat 1  
Gate Athlete
1. Netherlands van der BIEZEN Raymon
2. United States of America FIELDS Connor
3. Colombia JIMENEZ CAICEDO Andres Eduardo
4. France CALEYRON Quentin
5. Great Britain PHILLIPS Liam
6. Latvia VEIDE Rihards
7. Australia YOUNG Khalen
8. Latvia TREIMANIS Edzus
Heat 2  
Gate Athlete
1. France DAUDET Joris
2. Netherlands van GENDT Twan
3. Australia WILLOUGHBY Sam
4. New Zealand WILLERS Marc
5. Latvia STROMBERGS Maris
6. Colombia OQUENDO ZABALA Carlos Mario
7. United States of America HERMAN David
8. Switzerland RINDERKNECHT Roger