Daniel Dhers takes men's BMX Park crown at Barcelona urban festival

Daniel Dhers of Venezuela competes in the Cycling BMX Men's Freestyle at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Daniel Dhers of Venezuela competes in the Cycling BMX Men's Freestyle at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

The Venezuelan came from behind to win at the urban sport event final in Spain last weekend

Venezuela's Daniel Dhers sealed a come-from-behind victory in a thrilling BMX Park final at the imaginExtreme Barcelona urban sports festival.

After two days of stormy weather that had affected the event schedule, the sun returned on Sunday (8 November) to create ideal conditions for the BMX riders.

Dhers, the 2019 Pan American Games BMX Freestyle gold medallist, was the heavy favourite going into the competition, but was pipped into second-place by Frenchman Anthony Jeanjean in the first round.

That meant only perfection would do in the second and final run, and Dhers showed all of his experience to deliver in style.

With his full repertoire of flips and tricks on display, the 35-year-old veteran scored 88.00 points to take top spot from Jeanjean, who finished in second place with 87.67.

Another French rider in Istvan Caillet rounded off the podium with 85.67 after wiping out on his second run in an attempt to catch his two rivals.

Estonia’s Rommet Saalik, who had earlier won the Scooter Park event, won the Most Valuable Trick award and finished fifth with 85.00. He didn't show for his second round run in order to prepare for the Scooter Street final.

Celebrating its 10th year, the popular festival took place behind closed doors in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That said, as the first - and likely only - competitive event of the season, the athletes were desperate to put on a good show with BMX freestyle making its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Dhers will be one of the favourites to win his sport's first Olympic gold medal, and was pleased with his showing in Spain.

"With so much going in the world, getting the opportunity to compete here in Barcelona was great. I had a good time, the riding was high (standard). It was go all or nothing, and as the last event of the year we might as well," he told Olympic Channel after.

"Every time I compete I like to wave at the crowd, but here I'm waving at judges and support staff only! The crowd usually give you a gauge of how you are doing and the stands usually packed in Barcelona, but this is the new normal and I'm glad the event happened. It gives athletes something to look forward too.

"Now I'm going to go home, do my homework and get ready for the (Olympic) Games."

The imaginExtreme Barcelona festival does not count as part of the BMX Olympic qualifying process, details of which are yet to be confirmed.

By Olympic Channel