All That Glitters Is Not Gold
AFTER announcing herself in no uncertain terms on the world stage by bagging a time trial bronze and securing a sprint silver in the Commonwealth Games, Abergavenny's Becky James has returned from Delhi with more than just a few new feathers in her cycling cap.
However the 18-year-old two-wheeled talent is the first to admit that the hard work ahead of her is truly 'Olympian' in scale if she is to make her London 2012 ambitions a reality.
"I think every British athlete is thinking about London 2012 because it's such an opportunity to compete at a home games," explained the down to earth youngster.
"My Commonwealth experience will help because I now know what to expect from a multi-sport event on this scale.
"However, I am fully aware of how hard the competition will be for selection, but I can only keep working, training, learning and improving.
"London remains a big aim of mine and everything between now and then is a stepping stone for that."
Selection to compete in the next Olympics got a whole lot trickier following a recent rule change by the UCI which states that each nation can only select one rider for individual events.
Consequently the ruling entails that James will be forced to go head to head with Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton to claim the individual spots in the sprinter's events. A contest many feel that, minus injury, Pendleton will win.
However, when you factor in that James has only recently started full-time training at British Cycling's Manchester headquarters, and judging by the way she took five times World Champion Anna Mears to the wire in a photo finish during the women's sprint race in Delhi - then the race for Olympic selection is fast becoming an open field.
James became only the second Welsh female cyclist to reach a Commonwealth Games track final, and the first since Louise Jones won gold in Auckland in 1990, after she claimed the notable scalp of Australia's highly rated Kaarle McCullouch (2-0) in the semi-final.
Meeting Mears in the final, who was beaten by Britain's Victoria Pendleton to the Olympic sprint title two years ago, James lost 2-0 but came within a cat's whisker of taking it to a deciding third race in the second heat.
A jubilant James revealed, "It feels absolutely amazing to come here and win two medals. If you had told me that a week ago, I would have laughed."
"I'm so pleased with how I rode in the semi-final because Kaarle's got so much more experience than me.
"To face Anna in the final was amazing – I just never expected to be in that position. She has achieved so much in the sport and to compete with her was such a thrill."
Looking towards the future, the Abergavenny cyclist is determined to keep her feet on the ground after her Commonwealth success story and explained, "The challenge for me now, is to work hard and step it up to the next level."