Commonwealth hero Becky vows to fight for London 2012 berth

First published in Commonwealth Games South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

BECKY James is the new golden girl of Welsh cycling who has her eyes set on being Britain’s No 1 come the Olympics in 2012.

The 18-year-old is the new darling of Welsh sport, having stormed to silver and bronze success at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this month.

But there is no time for the Abergavenny star to rest on her laurels after her triumphs in the sprint and 500m time-trial.

She is already back in the saddle, in training to push her 2012 rival, English Olympic and world sprint champion Victoria Pendleton all the way.

The 30-year-old Pendelton is the current glamour girl of British cycling.

She is tipped to claim the individual GB berth for the keirin and sprint spots at the London games as well as be one of the two riders in the team sprint.

But the modest yet determined James is going to give it her best shot to upset the odds: "Victoria’s lovely but it is going to be a very competitive two years," she confirmed.

"I have got to keep working hard and I’m going to give it everything I can and fingers crossed I can be there in 2012."

James added: "It would mean so much to be there in front of a home crowd in London.

"I’ll be 20 by then and I would love to go for all three events.

"But fighting against Victoria for those spots is going to be really tough."

Now based in Manchester, the Olympic development programme Under-23 academy member was recently back home in Monmouthshire after a well-earned rest in Gran Canaria.

James has been overwhelmed by the reception she has received in her home town after her Commonwealth triumphs.

"People in Abergavenny have been brilliant, coming up and congratulating me," she said.

"I’ve got so many cards and I had hundreds of Facebook messages when I was in India which really helped give me a lift."

James first started cycling when she was around 11 at Govilon Primary School when Welsh cycling guru Gareth Walker spotted her potential.

She said she owes him a great debt after he nurtured her raw talent: "It’s thanks to Gareth that I really got into the sport. Without him I might never have done.

"He just sent me a message to say how proud he was of me."

James is about to have a shoulder operation which will sideline her for three months: "It’s been nagging me so I’m hoping the operation will make my shoulder stronger."

After her enforced lay-off, it’s back to the hard graft that will hopefully see her realise her Olympic dream.

l For further information on Welsh Cycling, visit their website www.welshcycling.co.uk

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