Home » Sport » Bec Wiasak still coming to terms with Australian axing

Bec Wiasak still coming to terms with Australian axing

It was a normal Monday morning when a phone call abruptly ended Bec Wiasak's international career, and the two-time world champion track cyclist did not see it coming.

Wiasak's Australian coach was on the line delivering the tough news she wouldn't be offered a new scholarship, the stinging words ultimately ending her Olympic dream.

The 34-year-old was left stunned.

Bec Wiasak's dreams of an Olympic debut in Tokyo have been crushed.

Bec Wiasak’s dreams of an Olympic debut in Tokyo have been crushed. Credit:AP

Wiasak won silver in the team pursuit at the 2017 world championships in Hong Kong and backed it up with an individual pursuit silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year.

She thought she was doing everything to realise her dream of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after she was a reserve at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Wiasak won silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier this year.

Wiasak won silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier this year. Credit:AAP

Australian's only indoor velodromes are in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, which means if Canberra-based Wiasak wants to continue her international career it will have to be on the road.

"My coach dropped the bombshell and it completely blindsided me, it was a big shock and it still feels really raw," Wiasak said.

"He claimed if he had enough funding for eight scholarships I'd still be there but they brought in two younger development riders.

"They said I had to earn the opportunities and prove I was capable to perform in the team pursuit at international level but I won silver in Hong Kong, so I thought I'd proved that.

"It's crazy to think my last international race on the track was Commonwealth Games, I'm the fasted Australian in a non-Olympic event, I broke the national record and won silver.

"Even if I won gold it wouldn't have saved my scholarship because I was hitting my benchmarks and doing everything required of me.

"If Canberra had an indoor velodrome then undeniably I'd still be doing track cycling at an elite level with Tokyo as the end goal, but it's not a viable option without the support of the national team."

Cycling Australia have tried to contact Wiasak but knowing the "finality" of the decision, she's not ready for their explanation.

"I'm still struggling to understand the rationale and it's difficult to accept and process but with time I'll make those calls to get a full picture," Wiasak said.

"I was racing in America when it happened so I didn't deal with it… but it dawned on me when I got back to Adelaide and returned my bike and emptied my locker and said goodbye to everyone.

"It was emotional but people lose their jobs all the time and really they've given me my life back."

Wiasak won silver at the world championships in Hong Kong last year.

Wiasak won silver at the world championships in Hong Kong last year. Credit:John Veage/Cycling Australia

The Tokyo Olympics road race circuit was released this month but it has a strong hill focus, which does not suit Wiasak's skill set.

Instead she plans to bring forward her wedding, which was being delayed until after Tokyo, and follow her fiance Ben's cycling career through Europe.

"I have a burning desire to be an elite athlete, it's want you know and your identity. Tokyo is not out of question but it would be very difficult because the course doesn't suit my strengths," Wiasak said.

"Nothing is certain in life and I'm totally grateful for every opportunity I've got, I had to fight hard to stay in the squad as long as I did.

"The [Australian] time trials are in January and I'd love to defend my national criterium title. But I'm not sure I want to pursue that full time.

"There are other things in life to achieve, it's about finding something that makes you happy and fulfils you. It's also been nice having Ben, just someone that absolutely understands what you're going through."

Wiasak will race in the National Capital Tour in Canberra this weekend and said she's looking forward to playing a supporting role to younger riders.

"I've been here since uni and this is home now but I was probably only here for 30 days last year, friends are asking e 'How long you back for' and it's maybe forever," Wiasak said.

"Ben still doesn't have plans locked in for next year and it's exciting because I can do anything I want and say yes to priorities like racing in the tour on the weekend.

"The course has changed and there's some roads I've never ridden before. It will be nice to lend my knowledge and experience to help support the team hopefully we can get an overall result."

Source: Read Full Article