Paracyclists make their mark

Para cycling men and women have pulled out some great results in recent events, and one is hoping to have set a national record.

They took part in one or both of two events held at the Avantidrome.  The first, in late November, was the Cambridge Three Day track cycling carnival, which featured the Vantage Omnium and Madison Championships, and the second in mid-December was Waikato Bay of Plenty Track Cycling Championships.

One of the younger achievers was Cambridge Para cyclist Devon Briggs, 16, who took part in both events. He won a national title in the 4km Individual Pursuit and broke the national standard for the 1km Time Trial at the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Championships.  The latter achievement also marked a personal best for Devon

Devon, who has been cycling for six years and already helps coach regular training sessions, is also working on getting his coaching accreditation. “I want to give something back to the younger kids coming through,” he said.

Anna Taylor also attained a couple of personal bests at the events.  One was in the 500m Time Trial, the other in the 3000m Individual Pursuit. She is waiting for confirmation on whether the latter is a New Zealand record.

“Selection for Tokyo is my goal right now,” said the Paralympic hopeful. “I’m hoping to get through into track events for Japan… that’s what I’m currently focusing on.”

Te Awamutu’s visually-impaired Unity Collins, who switched from competitive swimming to cycling only in February, took part in a couple of events in the Cambridge championships. She achieved personal bests in the 500m Time Trial and in the 3000m Individual Pursuit.

“I’ve been a swimmer for a long time … this is quite different,” she said.  Helping her attain her goals is her pilot Briana Gunn.

Lindsay File moved to track cycling about two years ago after some 25 years doing road racing.  His success at the Cambridge events saw him rack up a couple of personal bests and had him wondering if he should have made the switch to track earlier.  “I’m really happy with what I achieved.  I’ve been in competitive sports all my life … right now I just want to ride faster and see where I can go with this.”

Others in the Para cycling ‘family’ who train regularly at the Avantidrome, and who made their mark in the two recent events, are Jack McSweeney, Ben Westenberg and Nick Blincoe.
The cyclists train regularly at the velodrome with Para cycling coaches Michael Bland, Dale MacDonald and Laura Thompson.

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