The Netherlands’ Niek Kimmann has taken gold in the men’s BMX final at the Tokyo Olympics, just days after fracturing his kneecap in a collision with an official during a training ride.
The 25-year-old hit the front immediately in Friday’s final and was able to hold his lead through to the end of the 400-metre course. Great Britain’s Kye Whyte claimed the silver medal ahead of Colombia’s Carlos Alberto Ramirez.
“I can hardly believe it,” Kimmann told NOS TV. “I hit the official on Monday and thought the dream is over. I knew I am young and the track suits me. If I ever become Olympic champ it’s now.
“After the training I took painkillers but then my stomach hurt. The delay helped me. I had to black out all the fuzz around me. I was so tired after the past days that I thought someone would pass me every time. I don’t believe it yet. I fought and it’s gold. Now I am going to phone my parents.”
Kimmann’s training crash on Monday.
A notable omission from the final was reigning Olympic champion Connor Fields (USA) who crashed heavily in heat 3 of the semifinals and was rushed to hospital. The final heat of the women’s semifinal was also crash-marred with Australia’s Saya Sakakibara falling heavily and also needing medical attention.
Great Britain’s Bethany Shriever went on to win gold in the women’s final, ahead of two-time Olympic champion Mariana Pajón (Colombia), and Merel Smulders (Netherlands).