(Article Courtesy of Paralympics  Ireland)

The 2012 UCI World Paracycling Track Championships got off to an incredible start for the Irish Team yesterday at the Home Depot Velodrome in Carson, L.A.

Gold for Walsh and Meehan

In the 3km Female Tandem Pursuit Qualifiers Catherine Walsh and her Pilot Francine Meehan (pictured above) set a new Irish record of 3:37.392 in the morning heats. This earnt them an afternoon ride-off against the British pairing of Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott.

The British duo built up almost a second lead by half-way but Catherine and Fran picked up the pace and had almost three seconds to spare when they crossed the line.  A terrific performance that had the stadium on their feet.

Silver for Brown and Shaw

Not to be outdone, our male tandem pairing of James Brown and pilot Damien Shaw also qualified for a gold medal ride-off when their new Irish record time of 4:26.778 secured them second place in the 4km Pursuit heats.

It was a slightly different story as the Australian duo of Bryce Lindores and Scott McPhee opened a good lead right from the start. Despite James and Damien closing them down in the last few laps they still had a few seconds to spare and were deserving winners.  However, it was a terrific result and a slot for London is the reward for the two Irishmen.

Promise elsewhere

Close behind Brown and Shaw in an excellent sixth place were Andrew Fitzgerald and pilot Con Collis in a PB time of 4:33.334. This would have been a new Irish record save for the performance of their fellow Irish pairing.

Irish tandem newcomers Katie-George Dunlevy and pilot Sandra Fitzgerald also showed that they will be future contenders when setting a PB time of 3:48.767. This gave them an excellent seventh place finish in the 3km pursuit qualifiers.

Upcoming races

All four tandems will also be back in action in today’s 1km Individual Time Trial.  Individual cyclists Colin Lynch (C2), Enda Smyth (C3) and Cathal Miller (C5) will compete in the Pursuit Qualifiers in the afternoon and hopefully finals this evening.