It feels like yesterday, the thought of 2008 BMX’s Olympic debut. It’s been four years since MTN/Qhubeka BMX rider Sifiso Nhlapo competed in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where BMX was being show cased for the first time. Skizo at that stage had the pressure of the nation on his shoulders as SA had not won a medal yet, the Olympic dream came to a dramatic end for the young South African crashing in the second turn in a possible medal position.
2009 seemed to be the year Skizo would bounce back and was consistently making finals and winning in Europe till Nhlapo crashed in training before the last round of the European Championships and broke his neck, fracturing his C3 & C4 vertebrae.
Skizo spent the next 10 months doing rehab, physio and getting fit as his goal was to race the 2010 World Championships in PMB in front of his sponsors, fans, family and friends. This was his time to show his country and for them to physically see the South African BMX Star in action. Nhlapo almost not transferring out one of the moto’s came back to finish an impressive 2nd in the Main event.
The 2011 season was a disaster for the MTN/Qhubeka rider getting injured in the beginning of the year and getting reconstructive surgery of the ACL.
Skizo commented… “2011 was a really tough year and I’m really fortunate that I have kept the same sponsors for pretty much my whole PRO career to date, this has helped as we have great relationships and they have seen me bounce back before. This year was incredible with the support they have shown which has enabled me to get back my full fitness, all I’m lacking now is some race experience again…”
The 2012 season has kicked off for Sifiso and he is on his way to Austria for the Red Bull DTC to check his strength, fitness and what can still be fine-tuned before his first event in Manchester this month.
One exciting change for the MTN/Qhubeka rider is that he has moved off his South African brand Morewood BMX and will be riding his own brand of BMX in the future.
Skizo commented on the move:
“Firstly I would just like to thank Morewood Bikes for being part of their project and riding a proudly South African brand, I just wish I could have put it on the podium more for them last year. They have a lot of exciting developments and I think there will be some great BMX bikes coming out of their factory in the future.
I think the timing was perfect to start up a bike brand with the Olympics around the corner. The opportunity to start something for myself for the future is exciting and I’m hoping it goes well. Focus is still the Olympics and after that when we have some down time we will start working more on the development of the bikes to get some out into the market.
It’s a big step to try and start a bike brand and I’m sure it will have its challenges but we ready to make the first step and try make it work. It makes me think of what I can do for the sport of BMX in South Africa and around the world.
Having the Qhubeka logos on my first few frames is just a little something I did to create awareness about the initiative. My race bikes will be black and yellow which are the team colours for Team MTN/Qhubeka. This brings me closer to the team in more ways than one.”
In closing we asked Sifiso “skizo” Nhlapo if he was once again ready for the challenge to qualify for the London Olympics as South Africa don’t have many riders collecting points for the country and South Africa’s nation ranking is currently 17th.
Skizo said, “I’ve been in this situation before so I know exactly what I need to do, big mountain ahead but I have climbed it twice before so I will be prepared and give it 200% because that’s what it’s going to take, nothing less!!!”
For more info on his MTN/Qhubeka Team and the initiative please visit their website
You can also follow Sifiso on Twitter