Silver medal kick starts New Zealand Para Cycling Team campaign at UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships
Para cyclist Sarah Ellington (Auckland) has started the New Zealand Para Cycling Team campaign at the 2020 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships in great form winning a silver medal in the Women’s 3km Individual Pursuit C2. As she prepared for this event Ellington was determined to build on her performance in this same event in 2019 where she won a bronze medal.
Ellington said: “I qualified second fastest time for the final so I knew that I just had to go and execute a ride that I could do. Instead of worrying about the other rider on the track. So I just listened to my coach on the sideline and watched the lap times and just went out and did what I knew I could do.”
She continued: “So I’ve got two events again tomorrow the 500m Time Trial and the Flying 200. The Flying 200 is a new event and I’m quite looking forward to it. So should be good racing tomorrow.”
Ellington’s time of 4:17.929 was a personal best and just over 8 seconds behind World Champion and gold medallist Sini Zeng (China). Ellington has incomplete paraplegia from an accident resulting in a loss of muscle power in both legs.
Stu MacDonald (PNZ Para Cycling Head Performance Coach) said: “It was great for the team to start the first day of racing with a medal and some great rides from so many of the team. Sarah wasn’t too happy about this morning’s qualification ride however she still knocked 10 seconds off her time in this event last year and then went faster in the final. Something that is very hard to do in the Individual Pursuit because of the level of physical effort needed. I’m really looking forward to progressing through the week and watching the riders produce some strong performances.”
Nick Blincoe (Auckland) placed 6th and was less than 1 second off the podium today as he competed in the Men’s 1km Individual Time Trial C4. Although this time was consistent with his performances at the event last year he will be looking to further improve in his final event, the Individual Pursuit. Blincoe has complete loss of muscle power in his right arm due to a sporting injury. The gold medal was won by multiple World Champion and Paralympic gold medallist Jody Cundy (Great Britain).
Nicole Murray (Te Awamutu) placed 5th in the Women’s Individual Time Trial C5 in a time of 38.380 at her third Track World Championships after making her debut at the 2018 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships. Murray produced a personal best in terms of power records and will go forward this week with confidence. She has a left wrist amputation resulting from an accident.
Anna Taylor (Te Awamutu) debuted at her second World Championships event today in Canada placing 6th in the Women’s Individual Time Trial C4 in a time of 40.050. A field of 13 Para cyclists set a blistering pace resulting in Kate O’Brien (Canada) setting a new world record of 35.223. This will continue to grow Taylor’s experience having only made her international debut in 2018. Taylor has a spinal condition resulting in a loss of muscle power in both legs.
Tomorrow will see five members of the New Zealand Para Cycling Team competing including current double World Champions and tandem pairing Emma Foy (Marsden Wheelers – Whangarei) and Hannah van Kampen (Ramblers – Hawkes Bay); Sarah Ellington, Nicole Murray and Anna Taylor.
Find out here the full schedule of the New Zealand Para Cycling Team at the 2020 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships.
Photo credit: Rob Jones