BMX cyclist Štrombergs takes gold in South Africa world championship

Latvian BMX cyclist Māris Štrombergs, who won a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, has reclaimed his title as world champion in the sport.

Štrombergs finished nearly a half-second ahead of local favorite Sifiso Nhlapo in the July 31 final of the elite men’s BMX competition of the UCI BMX World Championships, which were held at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Štrombergs last held the title of world champion in 2008, the same year he won in the Olympics.

The 23-year-old Štrombergs finished the 385-meter course in a time of 38.391 seconds, according to results reported by the Union Cycliste International (UCI). Silver medalist Nhlapo was 0.487 seconds behind Štrombergs. The bronze medal went to Joris Daudet of France.

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers sent a congratulatory note to Štrombergs.

“The work you have invested, your great willpower and talent have allowed you the reach new heights in the BMX sport,” Zatlers told the cyclist, according to the president’s press office. “Thank you for letting the world know about Latvia through your outstanding performance and great victories.”

For his victory, Štrombergs will receive a cash prize of EUR 4,000 from the UCI.

Another Latvian, Kristers Lējiņš earned the silver medal in the junior men’s competition. He finished the course 1.012 seconds behind gold medal winner Sylvain Andre of France, who crossed the finish line in a time of 38.822 second.

Latvian cyclist Taims Kristers finished seventh out of the eight finalists competing in the junior men’s contest.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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