20 riders from Barranquilla ready for the BMX World Cup

Yesterday half of the Atlántico BMX team departed to Medellin to the concentration bunker to do the final preparations for the 2016 UCI BMX World Championships that will be held in that city at the end of this month. The rest of the squad will join them a few days before the tournament.

Between the 25th and the 29th of May, all the eyes of the BMX (Bicycle Motor Cross), a very popular, very competitive sport involving bicycles built specifically for extremely rough terrain) world will be on Colombia when the biggest competition of that discipline takes place. Organized by the UCI (Union Cyclista Internationale), the world’s governing body for international cycling events, will be disputed. At this event, Barranquilla will have twenty athletes competing for the world title in different categories.

Compared to other cities in the country, Barranquilla doesn’t have a huge lead in this sport and so we’ll be at this championship primarily in a learning capacity. The team has been working together for only sixteen months, not enough time to compare them with a Medellin delegation that will bring more than 200 participants to the event. Luckily for us though, this time, they are all rolling for the same team we are, Colombia.

In general, the Atlántico squad is very young. A lot of them have never been in an event like this and it’s very likely they’ll suffer from stage fright. Also, our kids are not very familiar with the characteristics of a top class track; their training place in Barranquilla is very different from the one they are going to compete at. Hopefully after the experience of competing in these scenarios and against the best cyclists in the world, they’ll increase their strength and for next year, we’ll be better positioned to provide the country with titles from the coast.

Atlanticos BMX Coach Hernan Guarin, and Local Team #1 Gabriela Bolle
Atlantico’s BMX Coach Hernan Guarin, and Local Team #1, Gabriela Bolle

Nevertheless, we do have some expectations to excel in the tournament. Our biggest hope in the Department is with Gabriela Bolle, who is the most capable of all the members of the team likely to win the cup in her category this year in Medellin. Sofia Arrieta and Cristian Rada might also get a spot on the podium. Julian Martinez, Milton Rodríguez, and Simon Perez are the other Costeño names who have a very strong chance to reach the finals or at least secure a place in the semifinals.

Their coach, Hernan Guarín, thinks that for some of the team, just passing the first round will be a real success because each one of our teammates will have the very difficult challenge of defeating between 180 and 200 rivals in their respective categories. “They should take advantage of their technical abilities and especially, be focused right from the very first turn, because from there you can see who is going to the finals and who is coming back home right away,” he said.

A couple of days before departing to Medellin, on Thursday, the team gathered in the auditorium of La Enseñanza School for a congratulatory ceremony organized by Coach Guarín and the kids’ parents. The whole crew that qualified to this year’s world event received the Colombian jersey they’ll be using during the WC and they also each received a certificate of accomplishment. There was also a motivating speech by the first Colombian who participated in a BMX World Cup for Colombia and, this time, his son will be part of the 20 athletes from Atlántico who will represent Colombia at the Cup.

Athetes from Barranquilla qualified to the 2016 BMX World Cup
The 20 Athletes from Barranquilla qualified to the 2016 BMX WC at the congratulations ceremony


The video above is a profile of Colombian Mariana Pajon. Born on 10 October 1991 in Medellin, Colombia, Mariana Pajon is a professional BMX athlete and the current Olympic champion, UCI World Cup winner, National champion and UCI Time Trials World Champion. The 2016 UCI BMX World Championships will be held on her home track in Medellin, Colombia in May.

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Fran graduated from Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Journalism and Sports Journalism. Before returning to his native Barranquilla, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America. When he’s not busy writing or reporting on a game, he’s probably watching whatever sports news is on TV. He also enjoys dancing, learning new languages and cultures.