Bates taking skills to national stage
Horsham’s Dylan Bates will this weekend continue a trend of young Wimmera athletes bringing emerging sports into the mainstream with achievements on the national stage.
Bates is in Brisbane preparing to compete at the Australasian Scooter Association, ASA, National Championships after placing fourth at the Victorian state finals in March.
His success follows hot on the heels of Ararat teenager Nathaniel Kuchel, who last month was ranked fourth in Australia in competitive drone racing.
Bates, 17, will compete in the open division at the national championships.
He said he hoped to place in the top 10, paving the way for a transition to pro division.
Bates has previously been ranked number one in Australia, however a top 10 placing will not be an easy task – he is dealing with a torn ligament in his ankle.
Bates sustained the injury while training for the ASA state finals.
“The night before the titles I was practicing and I fell off and tore it,” he said.
“I didn’t think I’d torn it, so I pushed through it the next day.”
Bates aggravated the injury playing football before finally having his ankle checked ‘a few days later’ to discover a torn ligament.
While a torn ligament might sideline many competitors, or at least give them pause, Bates said he never hesitated when deciding to compete at the national championships. “I’m not too bothered by it,” he said. “It will limit me in what I can do, but I just have to push through it and work around it I suppose.
“I’m not going to let my ankle get in the way of what I want to do.
“I’m still going to throw out my best tricks and if I don’t land them, I don’t land them, but I’ll try my best.”
Competitors at the championships are judged on several criteria, including trick difficulty, style, landing, height and the number of times they push.
Bates said he would be up against tough competition, but believed he could still place in the top 10.
“You’ve got to believe in yourself, but there is some tough competition,” he said.
“I’m hoping to go pro in the next year and hopefully make it to Barcelona for world titles.
“To make it to Barcelona worlds, you have to be in the pro division and I’m not in that yet.
“You have to place in the top 10 in Australia to qualify for worlds.”
Bates, who took up the sport at age 12, said he loved being a scooter ambassador and enjoyed pushing others to take up the sport.
“You don’t have anyone telling you what to do, you can make anything up yourself. That’s what I love most about it,” he said.
“I like pushing other little kids to succeed too, because that’s what I got when I was younger – all the older boys pushed me to do tricks, so I like pushing the younger generation to do bigger tricks too.”
Bates thanked his parents and his sponsor, Fuzion Pro Scooters, for helping him get to Brisbane for the national championships.