Perago Trust grant recipient Leila Walker recaps 2019:
I would firstly like to thank the Perago Trust for your help and financial contributions in order for me to achieve my 2019 goals. I am forever grateful for your ongoing support. Your sponsorship was put towards my coaching with the Matt Cameron Race Academy which has improved my riding immensely. It has also opened up opportunities for me to travel and compete internationally. This year has had its ups and downs but overall has been yet another successful year for me.
My year started with the Oceania championships in Te Awamutu day 1 of racing I gained an Oceania 1 title in the 14 year old girls. The following day I was able to race against some of the fastest riders from all over the world. Sunday I was also awarded the Rangi Merito Memorial trophy which is a good sportsperson award.
My first international trip of the year was to Australia with the New Zealand youth development squad. This team was selected from a race meeting in 2018 which chose the 4 fastest females and 4 fastest male riders aged 13-14. We raced as individuals in Ipswich at a round of the Australian national series, where I came away with all wins and a title in the 14 girls category.
A week later I went on the New Zealand National Championships in East City, Auckland. It was a really good weekend racing, where I retained my national age group title in the 14 year old girls class for the 7th consecutive year. As well as winning the 12-14 year old girls supernats for the 3rd year running. There I was also awarded the BMX New Zealand top female achiever of 2019.
Earlier this year I went to Belgium for the UCI BMX World Championships. It was an amazing event which was unfortunately upset due to the heat and crashes. I won all 3 of my heats as well as my eighth, quarter and semi final making me top qualifier for the final. I felt good going into the final however, a crash on the second straight put me back to 8th place.
October this year I raced the NZ North Island championships which were held in Tauranga. I won all my races throughout the day and retained my north island 1 title.
At the Cambridge High School sports awards I was awarded the Gordon Cup for allround achievement in sport.
Just recently I got nominated for the secondary school sportswoman of the year at the Waipa networks district sports awards. I made the finalist list which was the top 6 sportswoman in Waipa and was also put forward for the Brain Perry Waikato regional awards which are held in the next couple of weeks.
Amongst the busy training and racing year I have enjoyed helping out with coaching at some local clubs, Cambridge and Te Aroha. It’s always cool to see the younger riders improve and seeing their love for the sport.
Another massive thanks to you at the Perago Trust for your support this year. It is very much appreciated and has opened up great opportunities for me to improve my riding and accomplish my goals.
I am looking forward to what 2020 has to offer!