Saya Sakakibara is on the cusp of becoming an international champion as she continues to put in strong performances at the UCI BMX Racing World Cup.
The Helensburgh talent was in red-hot form during stages seven and eight of the Cup in Santiago Del Estero, Argentina over the weekend, claiming a gold and silver medal. Sunday's victory was Sakakibara's third win in 2023, and came just a day after being pipped by Great Britain's Beth Schriever for top spot.
The results mean that Sakakibara leads the World Cup standings on 2775 points with two stages to go, which will be held on Friday and Saturday in Argentina.
In a post-race interview on Sunday, the 24-year-old said "I knew that I had it in me" to record the win.
"Bethany and I were really close, especially in that semi-final - our times were almost equal - so I knew it was going to come down to who can come out of the gate first," she said.
"I was quite confident with my gate and I knew that if I got out, that I could do a clean lap. It was great."
It's been an impressive competition so far for the Illawarra star, who famously suffered a concussion after hitting the deck while competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
Sakakibara was in a strong position in the semi-final and looked on track to move through to the gold medal round, before colliding with American Alise Willoughby heading into the last bend. It was a long road to recovery for Sakakibara, but she fully recovered from the incident.
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