No medal for Venezuela's Dhers in BMX at Pan American Games: 'I am going to incinerate the bike'

Venezuela's Daniel Dhers competes in BMX freestyle cycling at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Venezuela's Daniel Dhers, one of the few stars at the Pan American Games in Chile, says he will burn his bicycle after a disappointing performance on Sunday at the BMX freestyle final.

The 38-year-old Olympic silver medalist failed to get a spot on the podium in Santiago, facing some little known competitors. Dhers, who plans to retire next year at the Paris Olympics, also fell off twice.

The Venezuelan rider lost his balance in the first round of the decisive battle for the gold medal on Sunday. Dhers decided then to have a more aggressive routine to get more points, but dropped to the ground another time, which left his points at 49.33.

Argentina's José Torres, an X-Games champion, won the gold medal in Santiago with 86.00 points, followed by Chile's José Cedano (85.67) and Brazil's Gustavo Batista, better known as “Bala Loka” (83.67).

“There's sadness and there's grief," Dhers, who won the Pan American gold medal four years ago in Lima, told journalists. “I saw myself winning the gold medal. I fell with a trick that is for amateurs and a trick that I myself created in 2005.”

Venezuelan fans showed up for Dhers at the BMX venue of the National Stadium in Santiago. They jeered the scores given to their favorite during the qualifying round. The man who now coaches China's national team was the penultimate in the qualifying round, with 73.50 points.

“If I qualify (for the Olympics) I will retire there. I noticed I am tired. This is not as fun as always, many things have changed in BMX. I am not in agreement with the policies they have. I’ve seen the great parts of it and now the very lows of this sport,” the Venezuelan added.

“Now, it is a few days of mourning and incinerating the bike,” Dhers said.

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