Shriever: Mariana Pajon is my BMX idol

Shriever: Mariana Pajon is my BMX idol

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Bethany Shriever cannot wait to ride on the track named after her idol Mariana Pajon at the UCI BMX World Championships.

The 17-year-old races in the junior women’s category in Medellin, Colombia on Saturday and Sunday with Pajon riding in the elite women's event.

Racing takes place in the birthplace and home of Olympic champion Pajon on the newly constructed Mariana Pajon BMX Track.

“I aspire to be like Mariana Pajon and ride like her,” says Great Britain Cycling Team’s Shriever, who also names teammate Liam Phillips as an inspiration.

“She has been very successful and is really well known around the BMX world.”

Shriever joins Liam Phillips and Kyle Evans in the Great Britain Cycling Team squad for the final major BMX competition before the Rio Olympics in August.

“I’m thrilled to be able to represent my country and to try out all these new things - go to different countries.”

As a member of the Junior Academy, Shriever - whose long-term goal will be Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - currently has to balance her commitments on the track with those at school.

Pajon, 24, is an deity of BMX with two elite women’s world titles to her name as well as her Olympic gold while British Cycling Olympic Junior Academy rider Shriever - seven years her junior - is just starting her journey in the elite world of the sport.

Her UCI BMX Supercross World Cup debut only came in April in Manchester where she reached the semi-finals, a performance that offered plenty of encouragement for the future.

“My performance in Manchester shocked me, sort of, and it was such a good experience and I really enjoyed it,” Shriever says.

“It was good to be riding with some of my idols that I’ve looked up to for a long time.  The success I had was an added bonus, I didn’t expect to get that far and getting to the semis in front of a home crowd as well.”

Colombia will present Shriever with another life experience: she has never visited the South American country before.

As a member of the Junior Academy, Shriever - whose long-term goal will be the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - currently has to balance her commitments on the track with those at school.

“Going to school and training as well is hard,” Shriever says.

“I’m making the most of going to school, working hard. My teachers are very understanding about it. It is all life experiences, you learn as you go.”

Colombia will present Shriever with another life experience: she has never visited the South American country before.

“It’s somewhere I’ve never been before. I’m looking forward to riding the track, meeting new people. It’s just going to be really good, I can’t wait.”

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