Hungry for success
We speak to Quillan Isidore as he continues his recovery from injury and speaks of his desire to return to racing in better shape than ever...
By Sam Drury - Follow on Twitter
Last Updated: 13/01/14 5:21pm
He was the BMX World Boys 16 champion and was starting to make an impact at senior level. With a World Championships to look forward to in New Zealand, 2013 had the potential to eclipse the previous year and see Isidore announce himself on the elite world stage.
Come the start of the summer and things were still right on track, with the London-born rider impressing both at home and in Europe. By the time the Birmingham National came around at the end of June the GB youngster was performing even better than he had on his way to winning his world title in 2012.
However, after winning through to the semi-finals, the Sports Scholar suffered a nasty fall that left him with both his tibia and fibula broken in his left leg as well as breaking his wrist and the talus in his right foot.
"The day had been going really well," he recalled. "I'd won my heat, come second in the quarter final - and this is in the Elite Men category.
"It was the semi-final and I just got a bad start and got squeezed in down the first straight into the first corner and I was in sixth place.
"I had to get myself up to fourth to qualify for the final. I got up to fifth then I took the jump a different way to how I'd been doing it all day and I bumped my back wheel on it. It made me completely lose control and I had bail off my bike otherwise I might have broken my back."
It was a devastating blow for Isidore just when he seemed on the cusp of achieving so much more and for a while he struggled to come to terms with the injury.
"It was really disheartening because that was the time when I was really start to kill the training and when I went into the speed phase I just felt much stronger, much faster than I ever had," admitted Isidore.
"It was like it had been thrown away. Obviously I was going to miss the Worlds, I missed the rest of the season and most likely most of this year as well. It was really disheartening.
"Winning the National Champs at Junior and World Champs at 16 Boys, making a European semi-final at Elite Men, it was all going perfectly and then even at the start of 2013, finishing second in Europe, it was almost perfect.
"Then for this to happen was really tough. I didn't know how to deal with it at first but then as the months went on I got used to it and learnt how to cope with it. It just makes you hungrier to get back."
It is that hunger which, almost seven months on, still drives Isidore. Indeed, despite the manner and circumstances of his injury, not to mention the time lost, the 17-year-old is now starting to see his lay-off as something of a blessing in disguise.
"It's a really big motivation," explained Isidore. "It makes you work a bit harder in the gym because that's all you can do and it's still going to take a bit of time.
"Things like my diet though have been perfect and sleep patterns - all of that stuff helps and makes a difference - so I just can't wait to get back on the bike and into full training again. I'm going to put 100% into it.
"Everyone always tells me it's the best thing that can happen to you and it's hard to believe but, coming from someone like Shanaze Reade, who is a three time world champion, who says when stuff like this has happened to her, it's really helped. Now I'm starting to see why, because it's made me more mentally strong and hungry, a bit more disciplined too."
With the bones now healed, the focus for the Sky Academy Sports Scholar is on getting the strength back into his leg and getting back on his BMX bike once again.
With physio now reduced to just check-ups every couple of weeks, the onus is now on Isidore to do what he can, both at home and in the gym. He admitted that he is currently only doing "basic stuff" and although the extent of his injury means that even that is proving tricky, the rider remains positive.
"It's healed now," said Isidore. "It's still not as strong as it was before but I'm strengthening it up and day by day it's getting strong so it's going really well at the moment on the rehab side, coming back from injury. It's going faster than I expected but I'm still going to take my time with it."
Having taken up the sport shortly before his ninth birthday and with potentially another two or three Olympics after Rio as viable goals, Isidore has time on his side. His commitment and desire to return a fitter, stronger and more determined athlete could well ensure that his spell on the sidelines proves to be merely a blip on his track to success.