Becky James ready to bid for Olympic place after injury battle
Last updated on .From the section Wales
|2016 Track Cycling World Championships|
|Venue: Lee Valley Velo Park, London Dates: 2-6 March|
|Coverage: Live BBC coverage on TV, radio and online. Click for listings.|
After a nightmare two years, Wales' Becky James's motivation is back.
The double world champion is back from an enforced hiatus due to injury and illness and is ready to give her all to earn a place at the Olympics in Rio.
"At my worst point I couldn't get on my bike and did have times when I thought 'I am never going to get back' that was a really hard thing," she explained.
"I am doing everything I can possibly do to get to Rio and the Olympics. My motivation is unbelievable."
James, 24, won gold in the keirin and sprint at the 2013 Track World Championships in Minsk, but has been out for two-years with shoulder and knee injuries, as well as enduring a cancer scare.
James admits it was simply impossible to avoid the nagging doubts that she was never going to be able to return to the sport she loves.
"It was really hard, being out; I hope to never go through it again," she told the BBC.
"The physical side of it has been tough but the mental side, I think it has made me a stronger person.
"Every now and again I would watch a video of me winning medals. There were plenty of tears!
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"It is total frustration, to have five months off the bike, it was an absolute killer. I was very moody and very stroppy and I am not sure how people put up with me.
"I couldn't imagine how I could get back to the level I was at, but it took hard time, hard work and lots of tears, again!
"It has taken hard work mentally as well, with a psychologist. Now I feel mentally stronger and I am enjoying my sport more than ever before."
Relief at return
For close to six months, James could not even get on a bike, meaning her main emotion on her return was one of relief.
"I made my return around May last year, but getting back to half decent fitness has been really tough," she said.
"It has just been the last few weeks I have got my head down and have really been feeling the progression.
"I am also enjoying cycling more than ever now. I appreciate it more."
'New Becky' daring to dream of Rio
James believes she is a different person and athlete to the one who stunned the world in 2013, but has no inkling on how well she can fare in the World Championships.
"I am a new Becky now, hoping to do better than I did before," she said.
"You can't compare me to the athlete who won two gold medals and two bronze medals in 2013, I am a different bike-rider now and it has been a whole new beginning for me.
"I don't know what to expect at the World Championships, I haven't had much racing apart from last summer, through the World Cups I didn't do so well, so I am excited to see what I can do.
"Missing out on London in 2012 was pretty tough and I also missed the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with injury.
"So it will be good to get the World Championships out the way, but it would mean so much to go to the Olympics, it is the one thing I haven't done.
"To go there, that is the pinnacle and is what I want to do."
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