Jaydah-Lily Lees should be about to line up on the start line at the BMX junior world championships in the United States – instead she’s stuck in New Zealand.
Covid-19 ruined the supremely talented BMX rider’s chance to show her wares on the world stage.
So committed to doing well in what would have been her appearance at a world championship event, Jaydah-Lily turned down a sponsored trip to the United States last November.
“I wanted to be fully focused on the worlds; looking back now, I should have taken it,” the AIMS games star said.
Jaydah-Lily, a Whakatane High School student who has been dominant in virtually every race she’s competed in over the last year, was excited for the world event.
“It was going to be a really cool challenge for me. I was nervous but excited and wanted to go over there and win.
“I’d been training really hard so finding out it was cancelled was gutting.”
The 13-year-old claimed the North Island championships last year as well as the nationals and looks set to be a prominent figure on the bike for years to come, much like her idol and fellow Eastern Bay BMX star Sarah Walker, who originates from Kawerau.
“I want to be a world champion and not just once but multiple times,” she said.
Her father, Hayden Moore, who has played a big part in helping Jaydah-Lily reach her potential, said he didn’t want to tell his daughter about it being cancelled.
“I think she may have had a feeling it was going to be cancelled but we were holding out a little bit of hope that it might still go ahead. Unfortunately it was cancelled and now we just have to focus on training hard.”
He said his daughter was not one to be upset for long.
“She was disappointed – all kids her age would be with an opportunity like that cancelled – but she has just taken it within herself to jump back on her bike and continue training hard.
“Jaydah’s incredibly determined and is just focusing on next year’s world champs now.”
Moore said if there was a silver lining to all this is it was that she was young and had plenty more opportunities in front of her.
An exciting aspect of the trip for Jaydah-Lily was that she would have had the chance to see her idol Sarah Walker chase Olympic qualification in America.
“She’s gutted that she won’t get to see Sarah race anymore. That would have been a real buzz for her.
Jaydah-Lily should head to worlds next year, which will either be in the States again or the Netherlands.
“It looks likely it will be in May again which is great for us because it’s not that long after our season here so she can keep training. If it was in July then it makes things harder as it’s our winter over here,” Moore said.
He said there had been plenty of fundraising done and huge thanks had to go to Jaydah’s sponsors who had helped fund her trip to America.
“We are really appreciative of their support.
“Jaydah is just going to continue training hard and come back even better and faster next season.”