Medal win well worth the pain, says Oliveira
Matthew Oliveira says he pushed his body to new limits en route to winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas.
Oliveira had hoped for a top-ten finish but far surpassed even his most optimistic expectations by topping the podium in the boys’ time-trial.
The 17-year-old stopped the clock in 12min 06sec — 12 seconds faster than silver medal-winner Dylan Hughes of Scotland — and said his unexpected triumph was still sinking in.
“I was so surprised to hear I had won the gold medal when our coach [Peter Dunne] broke the news to us,” Oliveira said.
“I pushed so hard and beyond boundaries I thought were impassable, so I knew that the pain had to be worth it and thought it would give me a decent result.
“Winning a gold medal in cycling or any sport is an absolutely amazing achievement and I’m so happy I was able to grasp the win. It took a while to actually realise what I had accomplished.”
With the 5.8-mile course favouring Oliveira’s power-riding style, the Warwick Academy pupil thought he had a chance of a strong finish in a field including some of the top young riders in the world.
“I already knew many of the competitors here and knew the speed and power they would release on their ride,” he said. “I knew I had to push extremely hard to be able to contest for top ten.
“In fact the top-20 places were all within one minute of my time which goes to show how close the competition is.
“The course suited more powerful riders as it was close to completely flat. I’m heavier than most riders in the field, which gave me a chance, as I enjoy laying down the power for long distances on flat roads.”
Kaden Hopkins, Oliveira’s Winners Edge team-mate, also produced an impressive performance, placing sixth in 12:25 — just four seconds behind third-placed Sebastian Berwick of Australia.
Prior to the boys’ race, Alyssa Rowse became the island’s first Commonwealth Youth Games medal-winner after earning a bronze in the girls’ time-trial in 13.47.
“Alyssa and Kaden did amazing, our thanks as a team go to the Bermuda Olympic Association for all of our gear and for covering all the costs of the trip for us, making it possible for us to represent Bermuda,” Oliveira said.
“Also to our coach Peter Dunne for his dedication to us juniors in helping us get to this point. Personally, I want to mention my bike shop, Winners Edge, who have sponsored me with my racing bike and have helped me with countless financial burdens which have most definitely helped in my progression as a competing athlete.”
Oliveira and Hopkins will be plotting how to “outdo the fierce competition” when they team-up for the 40½-mile road race on Sunday. “We have been training every day and are slowing gearing up for it” Oliveira added.
“Although I’m extremely content with my achievement so far in this competition, I want to see how good I can do in the road race, which is more of a tactical race compared to a solo effort of a time-trial.”
A team of 20 Bermudian athletes are competing in four sports at the Games, which run until Sunday. The squad includes sprinter Deneo Brangman, high jumper Sakari Famous, swimmers Madelyn Moore and Jesse Washington — the flag bearer at the opening ceremony — as well as the Bermuda women’s rugby sevens team.
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