The athletes were pushed to the limit not only racing at altitude, but with Velodrome temperatures tipping 40C.
The tandem pairings of Emma Foy and Laura Fairweather (Sighted Pilot) and Phillipa Gray and Kylie Young (Sighted Pilot) had been training well under the coaching tutelage of Brendon Cameron however without any international Para-Cycling Track events since the London 2012 Paralympic Games expectations were moderate. The tandem duo of Foy/Fairweather were the first of the Kiwis to compete in the Women’s B 3km Pursuit and left no one in doubt of their intentions and performance capabilities by smashing the existing World Record held by Phillipa Gray and Laura Fairweather by 8 seconds. The English tandem who were always going to be a threat attempted to match this but fell short only to leave Gray/Young with the opportunity to ride off for a medal later in the day. They had a superb ride beating the English tandem out of second place meaning the two New Zealand Tandems would ride off later in the evening. The final was fast and furious with Foy/Fairweather started winning by a comfortable margin and breaking their own World Record they had set only a few hours earlier. Gold (Rainbow Jersey) and Silver for NZ; quite a feat!
Not to be overshadowed, debutant and talent transfer athlete Kate Horan competed in the Women’s C5 Sprint Straight Final. Kate who is coached by Jono Hailstone was coming into the event an unknown however they were quietly confident in the days leading up to the race. This was to be realised with Kate putting in a superb ride to finish second and take home a Silver medal at her first major event – a World Championships.
The medals kept coming on Day 2 with the tandems of Foy/Fairweather and Gray/Young competing in the 1K Time Trial. The final result being Gray/Young Bronze medal and Foy/Fairweather fourth.
Day 3 saw two Kiwi athletes compete, Fiona Southorn and Kate Horan. Both were competing in the Women’s Individual Pursuit; Fiona in the C5 and Kate in the C4. Both riders qualified for Bronze Medal rides however both finished fourth in their respective races.
The final and fourth day of competition was all about the tandems. Foy/Fairweather and Gray/Young competed in the 250m Sprint. This is a non-Paralympic Event however valuable UCI Points are on offer which contribute to athlete slots for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Gray/Young were first up and although putting up a satisfactory time did not make the top 8 and a quarter final berth. In contrast Foy/Fairweather finished fourth in the qualification round and earned themselves an opportunity to make the semi-finals later in the day. They went onto the bronze medal ride off against the Dutch, taking bronze.
New Zealand’s medal tally:
Foy/Fairweather -1 Gold & 1 Bronze
Gray/Young – 1 Silver & 1 Bronze
Kate Horan – 1 Silver