Curtis Manaton eyes Rio Olympic Games as Abbotsford test awaits
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Curtis Manaton eyes Rio Olympic Games as Abbotsford test awaits

Great Britain BMX rider Curtis Manaton is eager to use this weekend’s UCI BMX Supercross final round in Abbotsford, Canada as a platform for a journey which will take him to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The 19-year-old, part of the British Cycling Olympic BMX Academy programme, was named in the team of four for the meeting along with Abbie Taylor, Grant Hill and Kyle Evans with Shanaze Reade missing the event after rescheduling her approach to the world championships next year.

Following appearances at this year’s world championships in Birmingham, the Randaberg supercross round and the Olympic test event in London late last year, Manaton is relishing the occasion to test himself against some of the world’s finest supercross athletes when the competition begins on Friday.

“I’m over the moon to be given the opportunity to go all the way out to Canada and compete against some of the top guys in the world with a few other members of the team,” Manaton said.

“It’s only going to help my performance in the future - it’s a massive chance for me to show what I can do. I’ve been going well in training, obviously training indoor regularly [at the National BMX Centre], it’s helping massively having that facility, helping me with my training.”

“It’s only going to help my performance in the future - it’s a massive chance for me to show what I can do."

Curtis Manaton

It will be another rigid test for the youngster – despite being only six weeks since the BMX Olympic Games finals names including world champion Sam Willoughby (Australia), Connor Fields (USA) and Twan van Gendt (Netherlands) are set to start in Abbotsford – home to the first permanent supercross start hill in Canada.

An eighty-eighth placing at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham at May’s world championships, his most recent elite competition, is a marker Manaton is looking to build on with encouraging signs in training.

“It went OK, it didn’t go to what I would have liked to have done but it’s only going to help with experience,” Manaton said of his performance in Birmingham.

“I’m still young - a first year elite - so it’s going to help massively for the future and for the 2016 Olympics. It’s going to push me on and keep me going really, it was a big help.

“I know I’m going alright on paper and I’m doing well but basically it’s to build more experience. As long as I go there and do everything I possibly can I’ll come away happy. I’m not setting myself goals as such. I know I can go far not only in time-trials but in racing as well.

“I know a few top riders are going, I know there is going to be some really stiff competition out there and it is going to be tough but if I do my best I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

The incentive of an Olympic outing in four years time will be enough encouragement for the Academy quartet, but equally the prospect of riding more UCI BMX Supercross rounds in the short-term is appealing, particular with Manchester confirmed as the host to next year’s opening round on 19 and 20 April – a fact Manaton is conscious of.

“It’s great chance to go there and make a name for myself. Obviously I haven’t been to too many supercross races this year so for me to go here and to out myself out there it’s only going to help me with the programme.

“We all had chats with Grant (White – Olympic BMX coach) before we went and he said go there and do what you do in training and you’ll be fine. He knows I can do well.”

Reports from this weekend’s Abbotsford round of the UCI BMX Supercross will be on the British Cycling website.