Manchester’s Dame Sarah Storey moved level with Darren Kenny on 10 medals as the joint most decorated GB Cyclist in Paralympic history, following an astounding performance to win GB’s first medal of the Games.
Storey’s quest to become Britain’s most decorated Paralympian got off to a successful start on the cycle track in Tokyo, but the impact of her incredible Paralympic achievements was being felt closer to home in Greater Manchester where a group of cyclists also took to the track to highlight how she has inspired young people to take up the sport.
Members of a local inclusive cycle club were at Tamside Cycle Circuit, just a few miles from Storey’s home city of Manchester and on their bikes minutes after her gold medal victory in the Women’s C5 3000m Individual Pursuit, and were joined by Manchester based ex Paralympic teammate Jon Allan-Butterworth.
The club are part of a network of British Cycling disability hubs across the country where sessions are run by British Cycling Go-Ride coaches which focus on developing technique, fitness and confidence. The disability hubs are one of a number of grassroots initiatives funded by The National Lottery and National Lottery Players which has also supported Sarah Storey and ParalympicGB since funding for Olympic and Paralympic sport began in 1997.
Sarah Storey began her Paralympic career as a swimmer winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze in Barcelona in 1992. She continued swimming in the next three Paralympic Games before switching to cycling in 2005. Tokyo is her eighth Paralympics and her most recent gold medal means she is now just two medals away from eclipsing fellow swimmer Mike Kenny’s haul of 16 and becoming the most successful British Paralympian in history.
Jon Allan-Butterworth, himself a four-time Paralympic medallist including a gold at Rio in 2016, said: “It was fitting to be here on the morning of Sarah’s latest medal triumph to see the impact that she and our other para cyclists are having in inspiring more people to get involved in the sport. It really demonstrates how sport has the power to inspire, break down barriers, shift perceptions and increase opportunities for all disabled people.”
“It’s thanks to the National Lottery and those people who play it every week that Sarah and ParalympicsGB have been able to achieve this incredible success and that we’re able to see community and disability cycling initiatives like the one we’ve seen here today. That support is absolutely vital.”
Sarah Storey will look to become the most decorated GB Paralympian of all time as she defends her C5 time trial and C4-5 road race titles next week.
If you’ve been inspired by ParalympicsGB athletes, visit www.parasport.org.uk to discover an inclusive community sport opportunity near you.
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