Paralympics Top 3: Para CyclingBy Claudia Knight -
Following the spectacular opening ceremony on Wednesday, the Paralympics are now well and truly underway.
A Quick History
First introduced in the early 1980s and making its debut at Atlanta’s 1996 games, track cycling has now become one of the most watched events in the Paralympics. In this year’s games, there will be 17 medal events with men and women racing individually or within mixed teams.
Track cycling consists of two types of bikes and the athletes who use them. The first group includes amputees and athletes with impaired muscular strength, reduced motion range, cerebral palsy and impairments that affect coordination. The second is for those who are visually impaired; in this case, a tandem is used instead of a typical racing bike and a sighted pilot accompanies a non-sighted rider.
Athletes who are competing in the events are distinguished through a letter system. ‘B’ represents those who are blind or visually impaired. ‘C’ then represents those with adapted yet traditional bikes. Just like the Olympics, speed remains the determining factor. The athletes will compete through trial, pursuit, sprint and team sprint events in order to gain their place on the leader board. In terms of judging, track athletes perform under exactly the same set of rules that the Olympic competitors do.
This year in Rio, our cycling team looks promising, showcasing some of our best Para-athletes. Hopefuls this year include Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian. Storey managed to take home 4 gold medals at the London 2012 games, taking her up to 11 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals in total.
Storey will also be joined by former RAF technician, Jon-Allan Butterworth, who won 3 silver medals at London 2012.
A total of 18 gold medals will be awarded at the Rio games, with the track cycling events running from the 8th to the 11th of September. Following this will be the road cycling which will run from the 14th to the 17th.
We wish the best of luck to all those competing!