The Irish Paracycling Squad finished their 2010 International campaign in style in UCI P1 Paracycling Track competition in Kaarst, Germany over the weekend capturing two gold, one silver, two bronze medal wins and a number of top ten finishes into the bargain.
Female Tandem pairing of Catherine Walsh and pilot Fran Meehan took Ireland’s first Gold in the 3km Pursuit today beating Germany into silver, and France took the bronze. This reversed the results in yesterday’s 1Km Time Trial where our ladies took Silver with the German tandem taking the Gold.
Likewise Cathal Miller captured Gold in the C5 4km Pursuit today having finished fastest in this morning’s qualifying round to guarantee him a ride off for the Gold and Silver medals against the rider from the Czech Republic. In this evening’s final he caught his opponent on the 9th lap securing Irelands second gold of the day. This followed Cathal’s 5th place finish in yesterday’s 1km Time Trial.
Also on medal winning form were the male tandem pairing of Michael Delaney and his pilot Con Collis. They took the first of two bronze medals in yesterday’s 200m sprint competition, then secured another bronze in this morning’s 1Km Time Trial. They were unlucky not to take a third bronze in this evening’s ride off for bronze against the British Tandem in the 4km Pursuit, they were just pipped at the line to finished the competition in a great 4th position.
Also in action over the weekend were newcomer female C3 cyclist Trix Schwedler from Kerry and long-serving stalwart male C4 rider Enda Smyth. Trix competed in the combined C1 to C5 category and finishing in the top 7 in both the 500m Time Trial and the 3km Pursuit and will record top position C3 points as she was the sole C3 rider. Enda secured another top 10 for Ireland in the 4km Individual Pursuit where he finished in 9th place. He just missed out on a top 10 in the 1Km Time trial finishing in 11th place.
Expressing delight at the performance of the whole squad, Paracycling Manager Denis Toomey said, “In addition to bringing home all the medals a big bonus was the huge number of London 2010 qualification Ranking Points secured over the weekend. This was our last chance to garnish points for 2010 and will pretty much guarantee that we will secure the two London qualification slots (one male and one female) up for grabs on the 31st of December 2010. Only those athletes finishing in the top 10 secure ranking points and our success over the weekend should leave us looking good to grab those two slots said Toomey. He paid tribute to the support staff of Beverly Chamberlain (Coach) Gerry Beggs (Mechanic) and Fionnuala Kirby (Massage Therapist) who made sure everything ran smoothly for the squad over the weekend.
There will be little rest for the squad over the coming months as next year’s season begins early with the Track World Championships in Italy starting in February and the season between road and track running right through to the end of October 2011. A total of 11 events will contribute Ranking Points towards securing additional slots for London during 2011. If we can continue to build on our 2010 successes we will have every chance of reaching our target of a minimum of 5 bikes qualifying for London.”