Avatar photo


Buys looking to boost country rankings

He may be a strong medal contender at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but South African mountain bike ace Philip Buys has his country's interests at heart as well.

“Any points I get before the 2016 Olympics will count for South Africa’s ranking as a nation, and the higher our nation’s ranking is, the more riders we can send to Rio,” Buys said ahead of the team’s departure for Glasgow.

“We have about three or four definite riders who have huge potential and deserve to go to the Olympics, so it is all about those points and opening up more spots.”

Claiming silverware at the Games, which start next week, would be a win-win situation for both athlete and country as Buys would have a stronger chance of improving his own standing.

“The Commonwealth is definitely very beneficial for me as well as for South African mountain biking, leading up to Rio.

“If I get a result in Glasgow, it will give me a lot of UCI points and that would improve my own ranking and obviously my chances of qualifying for Rio.”

The 25-year-old will be looking for some redemption after he experienced a nightmarish debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Buys finished 35th on the seven-lap 34.08km course after he crashed setting off on the race.

He made a tenacious fightback from last position only to be thwarted again with a puncture and was forced to change the wheel before continuing the race.

“The experience there and what I’ve learnt just to be on a big stage at something like the Olympic Games is something you can’t learn in training. You have to participate in the events on such a big stage,” he said.

The Pretoria-based rider has grown in leaps and bounds since his appearance at the Olympics.

He has moved up the UCI rankings and currently occupies 25th place, while his stock has also improved among his peers.

At the start of the year, world cross country champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland asked Buys to partner him in the gruelling Cape Epic where they finished fifth overall.

Buys said it was a major feather in his cap that Schurter wanted to ride with him and boosted his own confidence within himself.

“He could have chosen anyone in the world to ride with him but instead he asked a South African rider.

“That definitely has to say something and it is all the confirmation that I need.”

The South African said he was also satisfied with the hard work he had put in ahead of the upcoming muliti-sport showpiece.

“There is a bit of pressure but that doesn’t really affect me that much.

“If I go into the Games confident that I’ve done my preparations, I know I will get the job done,” Buys said.

“The guy in front of me is Daniel McConnell of Australia and the biggest competition will come from him.

“New Zealand have a strong rider, while Canada have two or three strong riders as well.”


Read more on these topics

Commonwealth Games cycling Glasgow Other sport

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits