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New Zealander Antoon Cooper will ride for Trek World Racing in 2012
New Zealander will have to wait for 2016
New Zealand's Anton Cooper, who signed for the Trek World Racing team in 2012, will have to wait another four years before he can try to fulfill any Olympic dreams. An application by Mountain Bike New Zealand (MTBNZ) through the New Zealand Olympic Committee to the UCI to waive the minimum age for Olympic cycling competition for Cooper was denied according to www.stuff.co.nz.
During the 2011 season, Cooper, who is 17, emerged as New Zealand's top cross country mountain bike racer. On his first trip to Europe he won a junior World Cup and he finished with a silver medal at the junior cross country world championship. Despite starting two minutes behind the elite racers at the New Zealand national championships, he caught and passed all of the older competition en route to victory.
Cooper does not turn 18 until August 2012 and according to the rules, he would have to be 19 by the end of 2012 to compete in the Olympics in London.
MTBNZ's Chris Mildon made the request because if granted, Cooper would have been among those considered for what will like be one New Zealand Olympic spot.
"We wanted to see if there was any flexibility around the age cut-off," said Mildon to www.stuff.co.nz. "Anton misses by eight months and they weren't willing to sway on it.
Cooper will have to defer any Olympic hopes until the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
"If you don't ask you're never going to get anything. If I was born eight months earlier I would have been all right," said Cooper.
Some non-cycling Olympic sports such as swimming an gymnastics allow younger competitors.