National BMX Championships

The National BMX Championships in Launceston will be the first to offer a division for para-riders. Chelsea Tuck, 11, suffers from tuberous sclerosis, a rare medical ailment.

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It makes participating in many sports tough for her, but she has discovered a love for BMX racing. The Launceston rider is racing in the Para BMX category at this year’s National BMX Championships, which are being held this week in Launceston, Tasmania.

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It is the first time that the championships have incorporated Para BMX for persons with intellectual disabilities, deafness, or transplants. Michael Tuck, Chelsea’s father, said that his daughter’s ailment resulted in benign tumors.

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“She has tumors on her brain, down her liver, on her face, her legs, and her back,” he said.

“As a result, she has learning and communication issues.”

“They’re on the right side of her brain, which causes speech difficulties.”

Chelsea’s disability has made sports difficult for her.

“Basically, sports requiring communication are quite difficult for her, but BMX was a fantastic chance,” he said.

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It’s a family affair

Mr Tuck and his kid are also participating in the National BMX Championships .”I couldn’t pass up the chance to get on a bike with my son, perform a sport with my kid, training evenings I go out and do laps with my kid side by side, it’s a family affair,” he said. For Chelsea, the enjoyment comes from just participating.

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“I prefer the gate and riding straight over to the finish line the most at the National BMX Championships,” she remarked.

“I like the hops.” Casey Richardson, her cousin, is continuing the family tradition by participating in the para category. He suffers from ADHD and autism. “I began BMX last year, and this year I’ve grown really into it since I’ve met a lot of friends,” he said. “Everyone at the Launceston BMX Club simply cheers you on.”

“Even if you’re not quick, you’ll be accepted.”

A major BMX event on the calendar

Hundreds of riders from throughout the nation competed in a variety of categories during the event. According to Aus Cycling’s Luke Madill, the event included the top athletes in the country. “When we saw the statistics that came in, we were astonished but obviously pleased,” he added. The Para National BMX Championships divisions at this year’s tournament, according to Mr Madill, are intended to make the sport more accessible.

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“National BMX Championships is a pretty technical sport; it’s a little bit more difficult to have that inclusivity with a para category, but we’ve done some study and we’re trying,” he said. “Because this is the first time, we’re certain to make errors, but if we can start here and build on it each year, perhaps we’ll see it grow and expand.”

“It’s a family sport, so everyone from under-8s to 60-plus is here, so having the para division adds to that inclusion.”