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Para-cycling and the Invacare League

06/12/2017
Para-cycling and the Invacare League

Cathal Miller is a two-time Paralympian for Ireland, development coach for Paracycling and cycling advocate.


His Paralympic career saw him compete at both the 2008 and 2012 games finishing in the top tier of both games, respectably. His passion for the sport is unparalleled, he has been an avid sports enthusiast since he could walk. We caught up with Cathal to talk about the Paracycling League (Sponsored by Invacare). In the following interview Miller discusses how influential the league has been in getting more paracyclists involved in the sport.


When asked to describe the league, how and why it was set up Miller explained it ‘was set up to offer opportunities for riders to compete in a countrywide league that offered a goal to riders and a means to investigate what other riders were doing and improve their skills and abilities’. Miller went on to explain the role of the paracycling commission along with Cycling Ireland and riders in involving clubs by ‘supporting paracycling as an independent event’.


This led to Invacare offering to sponsor the event which Miller believes has ‘allowed the series to expand and showcase the ability of the riders’. This year, Miller informs us that the league consists of ‘an 8 race series which started in February and continues into September’.


Sponsors for the league are Invacare and An Post for the high performance team, when asked how important it is having sponsors for the programme, at a grassroots or high performance level Miller revealed that it is ‘Very Important!’. He went on to explain that ‘this has enabled riders to compete abroad in world cups and C1 events, provided funding for training camps, track sessions and supported riders who have been brought up to the HP(High Performance) team’.



He went on to state that ‘riders are predominantly self-funded but with the help of sponsors certain expenses and support is provided for and this keeps the programme going’. Miller revealed that since the sponsorship has come in to place ‘we have had teams race in Holland Belgium, France and Bilbao in Spain’. Taking riders around the world and onto an international platform.


We asked Miller why the league is so important to the development of paracycling? His response ‘without the league there would not be an avenue to showcase, for riders to come through and possibly progress to the HP team’.


We wonder has the dynamic of having Paralympic medallist’s competing with novices helped to bring up the standard of paracyclists across the board? Miller believes that ‘riders must show an interest and a commitment to competing in the league… 3 riders have progressed from the DEV squad to the HP squad and competed in rio, this shows the dynamic the league has in bringing the standard to a higher level’.


Finally, we asked Miller how the league has transformed paracyling in Ireland? Were there any challenges in taking part in the league? Where would he like to see it go in the future? The league of course is still in its early days but Miller believes that ‘we now have a structure in place that offers riders a chance to compete…this has all been made possible by the introduction and the strength of the Invacare League’.


He explained that as a coach ‘The only challenge I’m facing is being embarrassed by the new talent kicking my butt’. He recalls that ‘When I started in the sport we did not have the league so to have this now is a fantastic opportunity for all para cyclists and aspiring cyclists to come and get a really good grounding in the sport’.



Questions Compiled by Cathal Kelly


Article Written by Aileen O'Leary
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