Rebekah's season to remember

HARARE - Missing out on the joys of childhood in the pursuit of a dream is never an easy thing to do, more so if you are only seven years old.

But that has not stopped Rebekah Oberholzer from taking the BMX world by storm.

At a time when most of her age mates seem to have admirable social lives, she has made a 2014 Redline Mini her favourite toy, putting in all the hard hours at Harare’s BMX track at Old Georgians.

Oberholzer has been rewarded for her hard work by earning becoming BMX Six and Under Girls World Number One rider.

The seven-year-old is also the Africa Continental Champion, South African Age-group champion and Zimbabwe National Series champion.

That hard work has been vindicated with some breathless performances that begun with her first ride at the BMX provincial championships earlier this year which she proved a class above the competition.

Her speed out of the blocks, at the jump and her ability take the right lanes saw her illuminate the South Africa age group series championship, winning the six-year-olds class that was composed of both boys and girls.

The icing on her cake came at the UCI BMX World Championships in Rotterdam, Holland where she made the 5-7 class her own.

Virtually unheralded and with no one giving her a chance to leave a mark against some of the world’s top riders, Oberholzer rose and won the hearts of many.

The Harare-born rider qualified through the heats before making a mad dash in the final to finish first in the race which she was the only African representative.

She would prove that her World Champion crown was no fluke as she went on to win the Eight and Under Girls contest at last month’s 2014 SA and African Continental BMX Championships at Giba Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal.

The championship event saw 162 riders take to the start line to battle it out for top honours across all the age categories.

Oberholzer’s mother, Samantha, a 1995 All Africa Games Zimbabwe swimming captain was in awe of her daughters strides in the sport.

Samantha attributed her daughter’s remarkable season to her sheer determination.

“She is very focused and determined and it helps a lot competing with the boys all the time. So when she races with girls its bit easier,” Samantha told the Daily News.

“She understands she has to put in the hours for training even when most seven-year-olds have other pre-occupations.

“Sometimes I feel like she is missing out on playing with her friends and going to parties but I think she realizes that in order to get to the top she needs to put in the work.

“Before the world BMX championships she was training six days a week and when you are quite little that is quite tough but she went on with it.”

If all things are equal, Oberholzer’s heroics deserve a place amongst the nominees of this year’s Junior Sportswoman of the Year at end of year Annual Sports Awards.

But even if that recognition does not befall her, the seven-year-old, who is also a keen swimmer, gymnast and triathlete, has every reason to walk tall knowing she has done enough to earn herself praise and respect from international critics and fans alike.

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