BMX prodigy Bovill to follow in the footsteps of Olympic idols

Jay Bovill

British BMX prodigy Jay Bovill disclosed his desire to follow in the footsteps of Olympic heroes Kye Whyte and Bethany Shriever and compete on the world stage writes Chris Byfield.

Last month a star-studded team of Team GB athletes, including reigning Olympic champion Shriever and Tokyo Games silver medallist Whyte, travelled to Nantes, France to compete in the BMX World Championships.

Representing Team GB in the junior men’s category was Bovill, who is a member of Aldi’s Rising Stars, a programme that supports 20 young athletes by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs, while also delivering personal development opportunities to many athletes through workshop sessions.

The 17-year-old from Derby opened about his experience rubbing shoulders with his Olympic idols.

Bovill said: “I speak with them the whole time - I was with them most of the week.

“I managed to chat to them about a lot because they’re making a living from it.

“I also saw them just after the Olympics. I went down to Manchester, had a session with them and congratulated them.

“They were telling me how it was totally different; they’d never experienced anything like it before, but they said it was good. Even though it’s stressful they just said it’s amazing.”

Each year, athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports, based on set criteria.

The Rising Stars athletes will be receiving financial support through Aldi as well as a monthly food voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions and to future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Bovill, 17, has long been cited as a BMX prodigy, having won the junior men’s race at the British Championships in 2019.

Though he now competes on the BMX National Series circuit, Bovill admitted that until competing in Nantes last month he had doubted whether he could challenge on a global stage.

He said: “The World Championships went superbly. I didn’t make the final, which was my aim, but my performance and how I did in the rounds before the semi-final was amazing.

“It was an eye opener that I could race internationally, because that was the first race I'd done since I was around 13 or 14 abroad.

“Obviously, I’m good over here but I thought it might be a different story when I head out racing everyone [abroad], but I still proved to myself I could do it.

“After the Worlds I realised that I could get there if I put my mind to it.”

Bovill only graduated from Derby College earlier this year, but is already targeting Olympic success in the future.

The young star is also keen to guide the next generation of BMX athletes, in the same way he has been mentored by the likes of Whyte and Shriever.

He said: “Five years from now I see myself being a full-time athlete up in Manchester and hopefully achieving a world plate, which means I make the final of the Worlds.

“And hopefully the big one is getting picked for the Olympics. So that’s what I’ll hopefully achieve.

“I just want to be making a living from it and helping with the younger generation and getting more people into the sport.

“What [Kye and Beth] have done is what I want to do for the younger generation as well.”

Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024