Firstly I would like to acknowledge how grateful I am for the support of The Perago Trust. Your financial support has provided me with valuable resources, in order to achieve my goals. The funding that I was gifted went towards bike maintenance and coaching for my 2021/22 season. Amongst yet another restricted year due to covid, international competition has been limited. This has been tough, however has meant a good block of training and preparation has been done going into the new season.

This year (2022), I have changed category from challenge/age group into Junior Elite Women. This class consists of both 17- and 18-year-olds. It is the first category which the Rainbow Jersey is awarded, riders in this category are eligible to gain Olympic points for their nation. With this challenge brings nerves but more excitement than ever before. I am eager to learn and gain experience through racing and international competition.

To start off 2022, the BMXNZ National Championships was held March 13th in Hamilton. I went undefeated in all three races, to be awarded the Junior Elite Women National Champion title.

I have just recently returned from a successful trip to Brisbane, Australia where I competed at my first international race in Junior Elite. For many Kiwi’s, the Oceania champs held at Sleemans Sports Complex, was our first taste of International racing in three years. On Friday, I placed first in the Junior Elite Women, claiming my first Oceania champion Jersey in the Elite ranks. On Saturday, BMX Australia held Round 3 of their National Series. I competed in the 16+ Female superclass alongside some tough competition. In the wet, windy conditions, I was pleased to come away with second place, following behind New Zealand’s 2021 BMX Olympian, Rebecca Petch. This was an amazing experience and I gained so much knowledge about myself and how I am progressing as a rider.  

My next short-term goal is the World Championships held in Nantes, France. Being that I am selected by Cycling New Zealand, I will compete in late July. My goal for this race is to contest for the World Champion Rainbow Jersey, to gain experience and to establish how I compare to other women on the world stage.

Following this, I plan to head to Bogota, Colombia in late September to race back-to-back weekends. Here I will partake in four rounds of the BMX UCI World Cup series. These races will be crucial to gain points for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle.

I am forever thankful for the Perago Trust, with your support I am able to reach my full potential. I am looking forward to a year packed with challenges, international racing and learnings. However, above everything I am excited to wear the Fern and represent New Zealand on the world stage.

Leila Walker


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