MALVERN’s very own Evie Richards is now just a matter of weeks away from discovering whether she will be given the chance to fulfil her lifelong dream of going to the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo.

But first, the 24-year-old has a number of key races before British Cycling decide who the sole female Mountain Bike representative will be for this year’s delayed Games in Japan.

She started her mountain bike campaign in March, where she won the opening race in Barcelona, a result that took her into the world’s top 10.

Richards finished tenth in a minor race two weekends ago but, importantly, was the first British athlete to finish.

She now has two UCI World Cup races before selection for the Olympic games later in May.

Richards believes she has done all she can to seal a place on the plane this July.

“I feel like I have performed best in terms of results compared to the other GB girls last year and I won the season opening event in 2021,” she said.

“But these two races coming up will have a huge impact. You don’t want the selection to just be based on the one race but then again I wouldn’t want them to look at my results from three or four years ago. There is no saying what the selection committee will look at.

“If I perform well in these races then I give myself a great chance.”

The former Chase School pupil is a current Commonwealth silver medalist, but the chance of going to the Olympics has always been the pinnacle for Richards.

“I have wanted to go to the Olympics since I was eight,” she added.

“You get on the Olympic programme to go there but you never know what cycle you’re going be in.

“I feel like if I don’t go, I’m still young and I still have time to go but obviously I have done a lot to get to these games. I know I have done as well as I possibly can and have enjoyed my racing, my training and that’s all I can do.

“Having worked so hard for this and everything I have had to go through, it would just be the best to get there.”

It has been a strange time for people all over the world in the past 12 months and it has been no different for sports people.

The Tokyo Olympics were supposed to be held last summer but due to the worldwide impact of coronavirus, the Games were postponed.

Richards says there was a chance to go but feels the delay has actually played into her hands.

"If I look back to last year, I think there was about a 10% chance I would have gone," she said

"But even if I was selected, I wouldn't have been in as good a shape as I would have wanted to be. When I compare it to the preparation I have done this year; I have done heat work, a load of technical work, I have a different coach, there's been so many things that have come together in the past 12 months.

"Even if I don't go this year, there's is nothing more I could have done. Last year I would have been frustrated with myself if I didn't go because there were things I could have done to get selected. I wasn't technically up to scratch for the Tokyo course last year.

"I feel like this year I have put myself in the best possible position to go and I think the year extra has helped me.

"Going into last year I didn't have any elite results because I had only just stepped up from under 23 to elite level so when the selection committee are thinking about who is going to go, they're obviously going to look at elite results so last year I hardly had any but this year I have done more and I now think I have more results to my name which puts me in a stronger position.