Mighty performance from Shakira

GOOD SHOW: Shakira Mirfin.
GOOD SHOW: Shakira Mirfin.

Eleven-year-old Shakira Mirfin is the first Southlander to be selected to represent New Zealand in BMX.

She nailed her place in the four-member national team by being unbeaten at the national trials in Tauranga last month. Shakira, who had five wins, was also named captain of the team - Mighty 11s (New Zealand girls) - for a series against Australia at the Macarthur BMX Club grounds in Sydney next month.

The day after the trials, Shakira competed in an age-group competition for 12-year-olds. She finished second in the final.

The Southland Girls' High student is the New Zealand No 2 in the 12-year-old girls' section of BMX. Shakira became the South Island No 1 for her age-group at a Christchurch event in January.

In March, Shakira won the Southland open mixed title for 12- and 11-year-olds.

She attended a Mighty 11s training camp in Hamilton at the weekend and will return for another next week. She and her New Zealand team-mates - Tia Hastings-Thurgood (Cambridge), Mia Tuigamala (Waitakere) and Niamh Masson (Tauranga) - leave for Sydney on May 29.

They will have time to practise at the Macarthur BMX track before the trans-Tasman series starts.

Triathlons, swimming and cross-country running are other interests of Shakira.

She won the year 7 girls' section at the Southland secondary schools' triathlon at Winton in March. The 11-year-old has also won Southland cross-country titles for her age in the past two years.

Shakira does swimming training at Splash Palace three times a week.

Her BMX coach, Ted Lucas, of Invercargill, is in his 19th year of mentoring.

"She's intelligent and understands the mind games that go on [at competitions]," Lucas said. "She reads and analyses the track."

The BMX season in Southland is usually from September to May. Southland has about 60 riders, aged from 4 to 63.