Gosport racer Ayesha McLelland believes she has the potential to be better than three-times world champion and London 2012 gold medal hope Shanaze Reade.
McLelland, who carried the Olympic torch through her home town last week, admitted she was not disappointed to learn she would not be heading to London after Reade was given the exclusive Games berth.
However, the Portsmouth-born southern junior champion will be in the Olympic Park in August after securing tickets for the BMX final.
Reade, who made the final in Beijing, is widely fancied to vindicate her favourite tag by claiming gold this time around.
And McLelland will have front row seats to cheer on her idol as she dreams of making the 2016 games in Rio.
‘Shanaze is in top form going into London 2012 and could be Olympic champion, so it was the right decision to send her,’ said the 18-year-old.
‘She has got a good chance of winning it.
‘She is such a powerful rider but I definitely believe I can be as good as her one day – if not better – as long as I stick to my training and keep working hard.
‘I got the chance to ride alongside her for two hours at Gosport BMX Club, which was a great experience. She demonstrated the level of performance I want to reach.
‘I am looking to be like her so I need to become more powerful.
‘I have got the skills and technical ability – and can jump through the air like her – I just need to work on odd little things.
‘My starts from the blocks are not that good and I need to work a lot on them because I am always playing catch-up.
‘But we are good friends and have similar backgrounds. We talk a lot and she gives me a lot of advice and keeps me motivated.
‘She has proved anyone can have a successful career in BMX. She is a very inspirational person and she pushes me.’
McLelland was ranked second in England last year and was top dog for her age category three years ago. But she is all too aware of the talent coming through.
‘The standard of racing is improving a lot and we could have more than one spot at Rio 2016,’ she said.
‘If I do make the team then hopefully I would be able to make the final – then there is always a chance of making the podium.
‘But I won’t be at my peak until the following Olympics, so if I do make Rio I will probably just use it as a learning experience.
‘In 2020, I would be looking to get in the top three and maybe even win it.’
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