19 year old Melissa Mankowski has been eliminated from the final selection stage for the Beijing BMX Olympic team. The current National Champion had a bad landing in training and has badly hurt her left knee just one week shy of the final selection event, the World Championships in Taiyuan, China.
As soon as she landed, she was screaming and it was clear it was a knee injury. Mankowski will undergo surgery on Monday to discover the extent of the damage.
Mankowski’s coach Sean Dwight said it was an unfortunate accident. “She went over a jump and for some reason she unclipped and her foot came off the pedal. Her foot hit the ground and took the weight of the landing”.
With Mankowski out of contention, Australia’s chances of taking two women to the Beijing Olympics will now rest on the performance of Nicole Callisto and Tanya Bailey.
Bailey and Callisto placed fourth and eight at the last month’s World Cup Super cross in Adelaide and at the Beijing test event last August Callisto claimed seventh and Bailey eighth. They will have to pull out there best performances to make the team.
According to Australia's Assistant BMX Coach, Wade Bootes, "We’re really struggling now with one rider down for gaining those country points. It is unbelievable that even after the two year selection period it is down to the final selection race with four countries fighting for the third and fourth women’s ranking positions."
Riders depart on Monday for the flight to China where the World Championships get underway on Thursday 29th May.