Earlier today, the second day of a three day cycling talent identification camp finished at Taranaki Cycle Park in New Plymouth. The camp was looking for cyclists with cerebral palsy or neurological-type impairments, people who are blind or have low vision, amputees, and people who have loss of function or spinal cord injuries and wheelchair users.
Cycling is a relatively strong Paralympic sport in New Zealand. Phillipa Gray and Laura Thompson won a silver in the road B class women’s time trial event in London. On the track, they won a bronze in the women’s kilo and a gold in world record time in the women’s pursuit. Fiona Southorn won a bronze in the Women’s C5 pursuit track event. Their four medals accounted for 23% of all New Zealand’s medals at those Games. At the 2014 Road World Championships, Timothy Williams won gold in the men’s H1 time trial, and a bronze in the H1 road race. At a UCI Para-cycling track event in Melbourne, Australia in December, Byron Raubenheimer finished first in the men’s C4 4km Pursuit and in the 1000m Time Trial.
Last year, High Performance Sport New Zealand set a target of 8 to 12 gold medals at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Following disappointing results for the Olympic team in London, a review was taken of the sport, and there was a guaranteed forecast of considerably less funding for it as a result from 2013 to 2014 to the tune of around NZ$1.4 million. On the Olympic side for cycling, the program did not lose any year to year funding.