Friday, 4 January 2008

Youngsters prove their stuff

Browsing the race reports and results for the Tassie Xmas Carnivals, and the Jayco Bay Crits that are currently on, one of the things that is really standing out is the number of teenagers who are really performing well (top 5, and podiums) in these races. Shannon McCurley won the Burnie Crit, Emma Smith won the Burnie Wheelrace; Michaela Smith won the Burnie women’s scratch; Sara Cure won the Ladies’ Invitation at Launceston; younger sister Amy Cure placed 2nd in the 2000m Latrobe Wheelrace and the Women’s wheelrace at Devenport; Lauren Kitchen won yesterday’s edition of the Jayco Bay Crit and Megan Dunn came 3rd in the previous day’s edition (sorry if I missed anyone!) All of these girls are 15-17, racing open events. And of course, there is a solid list of 18-19 year olds blowing away the elite women on a regular basis.

For me it says two things: the depth of Australia’s female junior racing is strong and promising, and how old do I feel when I line up at an open track meet? Nonetheless, seeing such young talent shining already (they really are babies!) makes me a happy, inspired, old(er) girl of cycling. The key is in nurturing and retaining these girls, so they stay with the sport well into their adults lives.

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