London Irish paracyclist Katie- George Dunlevy and her tandem Eve McCrystle have achieved their latest feat in an ideal warm-up to the Rio Paralympic Games by breaking a huge record.
The pair, who have won World and European titles this year, have proven they are in the form of their lives ahead of the by producing a time of 50’06” in a 25mile Time Trial in Woodgreen. The time beats the existing Irish record by over two minutes than the long standing time of 52’35”set by Gareth Crothers and Paul McMinn in 2006.
The following day the Rio bound duo also completed a 10mile Time Trial at Warrenpoint in a time of 20’27”, which is within a respectable shout of the 19’04” national record set by international cyclists Tommy Evans and Roger Aiken in 2006. Both times recorded by Dunlevy and McCrystal were on courses that have been officially measured, with commissaires in place, so they are likely to be deemed new Paracycling national records, subject to ratification by the Board of Cycling Ireland.
This is good news for the female tandem, for the Irish Paracycling Squad and for the Irish Paralympic Team ahead of the Games which run from the 7th – 18th September. The team are currently training in Portugal and fly to the holding camp in Uberlandia on the 28th August before arriving in the Olympic and Paralympic Village on the 2nd September.
Performance Coach Neill Delahaye believes the Irish tandem are going into the Games in top form; “Their record in the 25 mile is faster than the current tandem national record which was set by two men, and the 10 mile is the fastest time recorded by an Irish female tandem over this distance, it should be a Paracycling national record once ratified.
“The times are exceptional as conditions on both nights were not particularly fast with wet roads for the 25 and unfavourable wind for the 10.
“I am confident they are where they need to be at this stage pre-Games.”
In Rio the road events will take place from the 14- 17 September, after the track, which runs from the 8-11 September. At the Games there will be 6 Irish bikes competing; Dunlevy and McCrystal (W B Tandem), Damien Vereker and Sean Hahessy (M B Tandem), Eoghan Clifford (MC3), Colin Lynch (MC2), Declan Slevin (MH3) and Ciara Staunton (WH2).
All bikes will be competing on the road in the Road Race and Time Trial, the tandems and Clifford and Lynch will also be competing on the track.
Katie-George and Eve’s Schedule is as follows: Track 9th September (1k time trial) morning session from 10.00am. afternoon session from 16.30pm 11th September (3k individual pursuit) morning session
Paralympics faces major budget cuts
The Paralympic Games are due to go ahead as scheduled next month despite huge budgeting issues.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that due to funding issues there would be lesser access to venues, the workforce and transport for athletes and spectators. The budget problems come as it was announced that only 12 per cent of tickets, 290,000, have been sold for the games, as the IPC president called the situation unprecedented.
There is huge support from within the country to save the games also, with the mayor of Rio de Janeiro even doing his bit to help – securing an additional £36million of funding and £24million of sponsorship from Brazilian-government-run companies. But it is still thought that up to ten countries could struggle to get their athletes to Brazil as there were three week delays in sending 8 million (£7m) of travel grants out. These countries were meant to have received the first phase of funding by the end of July, but a, now over-ruled, injunction halted the transfer.
“Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this,” said IPC president Sir Philip Craven.
“These cuts are on top of the ones we, together with the International Olympic Committee, have already made in the last 12 months and are likely to impact nearly every stakeholder attending the Games.”
“Currently we have about ten countries who, even if the grants are paid, may struggle to cover the cost of their travel to the Games. We are working desperately hard to protect athlete services, especially within the field of play. They have dedicated their lives to reaching these Games and we will do our utmost to try to maintain the service levels and scope that they expect at a Paralympic Games.”