TODAY |

Sarah Walker at peace with failed Tokyo bid, excited for rival Rebecca Petch

There's been a changing of the guard in Kiwi BMX with Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker being overlooked for Tokyo in favour of 22-year-old Rebecca Petch.

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Walker and Petch competed for NZ's one Olympic BMX spot but selectors chose the 22-year-old. Source: 1 NEWS

Walker last competed in London nine years ago, but she doesn't consider her unsuccessful build-up as a waste of time.

In fact, it's quite the opposite.

“Part of going and having those big dreams is that sometimes they work and sometimes they don't but for me, the focus was to enjoy what I do,” Walker told 1 NEWS.

It's been a bumpy road for the 2012 silver medallist with persistent injuries meaning she didn't qualify for Rio.

Five years later, she’s been overlooked for the next generation who admits played a large role in her own journey.

“When the Beijing Olympic games were on, I remember watching Sarah on the big screen and thinking, ‘I want that to be me one day’,” Petch said.

Petch has been riding since she was three and has built an impressive resume since, culminating in her elite world championship debut in 2017.

However, she hasn’t had any international competition for the past 18 months, making the decision as to who would go to the Olympics a headache for selectors. Eventually it was her potential that made the difference.

Petch isn’t waiting for the future though.

“I’m gunning for a medal and I'm going to be excited to be there and see how I go,” she said.

Walker will be there too as a medal presenter and is excited to see how her successor goes.

“It'll be cool to see her go to her first Olympics to perform and have that experience because I know what an honour and privilege it is to have that.”

When the duo trained together, they initially tried to not mention going to the Games but said in the end, they decided that was detrimental.

“We had a discussion about we need to believe we're both going to be there even if there is one spot because it is important to talk like you're going, act like you're going and train like you're going,” Walker said.

With training no longer a priority she's considering a ski trip before heading to Tokyo with talks of retirement far from the mind.