SASI athletes on fire at Para-cycling world titles
06 Sep 2017
SOUTH Australia's small but select number of athletes again rose to the pressure of the big stage by performing strongly at the recent UCI Para-cycling World Road Championshsips in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Debutant and reigning national champion Darren Hicks took home two silver medals in the men's C2 individual time trial and road race, while Meg Lemon, also on debut, battled strongly to grab bronze medals in the women's C4 time trial and road race.
The duo won half of Australia's total eight medals at the titles.
Team member Darcy Thompson enjoyed a solid championshsip with two seventh places in the men's C1 time trial and road race while tandem duo Kieran Murphy and pilot Lachlan Glasspool recorded a top-10 finish in their Individual Road Time Trial and road race event.
SASI Para-cycling Head Coach Loz Shaw said the SA riders were outstanding.
''Darren really was up against it,'' he said.
''He was one of the only single-leg athletes in the top 10 and he did an amazing job. Early on he competed with a prosthetic leg but we had to convince him to go without to be more competitive which he has been.
''He has been riding with me for about 18 months and without his prosthetic leg for about 15 months.
''I saw potential in Darren - he's a strong athlete with the right attitude.
''I was thinking maybe a top 10 for Darren, possibly a top five but this has been just amazing.
''I spoke to him a few times in the lead up to his event were he was a bit nervous but he was very emotional when he won the silver.
''We talked more and more to get his head in the right space. He did an amazing job - it came down to the bunched sprint.''
Lemon also showed grit to win two bronze medals, riding flat out against the wind to take third place in a time of 40mins 12.06secs.
Lemon's continued success on the big stage came on the back of an excellent World Cup campaign where she collected three Para-cycling Road World Cup victories in April in the time trial and road races in Ostende, Belgium, and a win in the time trial in Managio, Italy.
Shaw said Lemon was a real competitor.
''She also did an amazing job,'' he said.
''The plan for her was to go there for a full line up of competition.
''I thought she would be a real dark horse and she was. Meg wasn't far off second place.''
The SASI members will have two weeks off and then head to an eight-day training camp in Adelaide.
There, they will prepare for the track nationals later in the year and the road nationals early in 2018.