Juniors line up against best

Recently Niel van Niekerk, Kai Arbery and Sarah Dally were part of the South Australian contingent of junior riders chosen to participate in the National Track Championships held at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane.

Both Dally and Arbery were stars coming away from the championships with silver medals.

After being selected for the past three years, but having the championships cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, van Niekerk was particularly looking forward to competing.

He had a varied program that began with a team pursuit, where the South Australian Team qualified fifth.

This was followed by the omnium, a series of four events where points were combined to determine the eventual winner.

Van Niekerk finished with an eight in the scratch race, fifth in the Tempo race, third in the elimination race, and fifth in the points race, just missing out on the final podium.

On following days he continued to race hard in the individual pursuit (15th), 500m time trial (ninth), the points race (DNF) and the scratch race (fifth).

Arbery began his time at the championships with the individual sprint, where he qualified for the finals and progressed into the final eight.

He was also part of the South Australian sprint team that finished with the silver medal.

In his other races Arbery finished fifth in the 500m time trial and just missed out on the semi-finals in the keirin.

Dally’s competition in the championships began with the team pursuit where she was part of the South Australian U19 Women’s team that collected the silver medal.

She also competed in the scratch race (DNF) and the Keirin (seventh).

On the final day of her competition, Dally qualified fourth for the individual pursuit and rode off against the third place qualifier for the bronze medal.

It was a close-fought race, with the final margin just 0.008 seconds in favour of the other rider.

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