The New Zealand Para Cycling Team of 8 Para cyclists will return to New Zealand on Wednesday morning with some considerable hand luggage – 1 rainbow jersey, 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals complemented by numerous personal best performances all with only 201 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The final day of racing saw the tandem pairing of Mitch Wilson and Jackson Ogle (sighted pilot) wrap up their second UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships with 7th in the Men’s Tandem Sprint.
Wilson said: “Today was a new experience qualifying for the match sprints, we were thrown straight in the deep end having to race the defending World Champs. Although we lost, it was a good hard bit of fun and learning and we came away with 7th place which was great. We can’t wait until we can do it again and continue to improve. It was also cool to see the great sportsmanship from all the Para cyclists today and throughout the Championships.”
Stu MacDonald (PNZ Para Cycling Head Performance Coach) said: “Today saw Mitch and Jackson in action in the Men’s Tandem Sprint event – a secondary event for them and an opportunity to pitch themselves against the best in the world. After qualifying in 8th place, they faced the strong British pairing of Rotherham and Fachie. They lost the quarter final but demonstrated some exceptional skill to stay upright after puncturing on the last lap of the second ride at over 60kph. That saw them left to face the Malaysian team in the ride off for 7/8th place. In the ride off the Malaysians were pushing them very hard and looked set to beat the kiwi pairing, however a front wheel blow out and spectacular crash meant that they were unable to re-ride which meant Mitch and Jackson finished the sprint competition in 7th place. The track season has now finished for the New Zealand Para Cycling Team and with it some fantastic performances. The team equalled our medal haul from the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships but the standard of performances was far higher than in 2019.”
The New Zealand team finished the championships with a handy tally of two bronze medals courtesy of Nicole Murray in the C5 Women’s Individual Pursuit, and Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen in the B/VI 1km time trial. Silver on day 1 went to Sarah Ellington in the C2 3000m individual pursuit, while gold went to Foy and van Kampen in the tandem individual pursuit.
MacDonald continued: “The team is progressing nicely and we have scored some really valuable points towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games later in the year. The Paralympic Games is obviously the big one for us this year and although we have posted some great performances here in Milton, we are going to reset and keep working harder than ever before in pursuit of even better performances in Japan in August.”
The team that consists of Foy, van Kampen, Ellington, Murray, Ogle, Wilson, Nick Blincoe and Anna Taylor will return to New Zealand on Wednesday.