Lynch and Clifford take medals for Ireland at World Champs

Posted on: March 17th, 2016

Ireland has begun the Worlds with two medals on the opening day; Eoghan Clifford, above, taking bronze in the pursuit (Photo: Paralympics.ie)

 

Ireland has enjoyed a successful opening day at the Paracycling World Track Championships, with both Colin Lynch and Eoghan Clifford coming away with medals in their pursuit events.

Lynch won a silver and Clifford a bronze to continue the Irish paracyclists’ prolific record at major championships.

Lynch was second quickest in the C2 individual pursuit qualifiers early on Thursday.

In the evening he faced the fastest qualifier – Canada’s Tristen Chernove – who was to beat him for the gold.

Lynch’s time of 3.48.573 for the 3km pursuit in qualifying was a massive four seconds faster than his previous personal best.

And while that was bested by newcomer Chernove, Lynch was quicker that three medallists from last year’s championships.

“The last week has gone really really well; the form came at exactly the right time,” he said trackside in Montichiari, Italy.

“Once we got to the track here in Italy I knew that I was going better than ever before.

“In training I have been getting the same times as I did at altitude last year, when you are getting that kind of speed you know that everything is going perfectly.

“It shows that what we are doing is right, my sights are firmly focused on Rio, and this is a combination of four years of hard work. This puts us where we need to be.”

 

Colin Lynch shattered his personal best for the pursuit and took the silver medal (Photo: Paralympics.ie)

 

In the C3 pursuit, Clifford lowered his personal best by three seconds to 3.35.837 to get into the bronze medal ride off with fourth fastest qualifier Masaki Fujita from Japan.

And in that ride-off the Irishman trailed his opponent until two laps to go when he moved ahead of him.

“I only knew I had the medal at the end, I was behind for most of it, but pegged it back in the last two laps,” Clifford said.

“I didn’t know I had won the medal until I finished the race; even though I had a gap at the end, I had been behind for so long I didn’t know.”

In winning bronze he was repeating his ride of 12 months ago at the Worlds, a considerable achievement considering he had been struggling with a knee injury of late.

It has also been a busy time for him personally as has just become a father for the first time.

“My confidence has been quite low over the past few months, so I think I contributed least to this medal, it was down to my family, teammates and support staff who have just kept going,” he said.

“On the camps when my times haven’t been good, and my knee was killing me a lot the staff and my teammates gave me confidence.

“Also I only got to see my daughter three times in the last few months, my wife has been so supportive.

“This medal, it wasn’t my legs this time; it was my family and team. In a way this medal means more to me than some of the gold medals I won.”

 

 

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