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Paralympics: 8th for Vereker and Hahessy in Pursuit


Vereker and Hahessy finish 8th in Paralympic Pursuit

The Irish tandem of Damien Vereker and Séan Hahessy have finished 8th in the MB Tandem Individual Pursuit at the Paralympic Games in Rio. The new pairing finished in a personal best time and national sea level record of 4.20.139 on the opening day of the Games, and their time had them leading for the opening three heats, and putting them within 6 seconds of competing for bronze. The standard in this event is up a level with the world record being broken twice, first by the Dutch pairing of ter Schure and Fransen and then by GB’s Bate and Duggleby. In the pursuit the top four bikes progress to the medal final, the gold medal will be contested by GB and NED. Spain and the second Dutch bike will battle for the bronze medal.

Speaking after their qualifier Hahessy and Vereker had clearly emptied the tank on the track saying; “The track here is pretty weird, it’s hard to find your groove, and when you’re riding in zone five it’s even harder. We were hoping for a 4.16 but that’s dependent on conditions. 4.20 is pretty quick. We’re not here for PBs or top 10s; we’re here for a medal.”

While Hahessy may have been disappointed with his time, their time bettered the 4.21.359 he rode with stoker Peter Ryan earlier this year at the World Championships in Montichiari, and was 5 seconds faster than the phenomenal performance of James Brown and Damien Shaw at the London Paralympic Games, when they finished in 4th place overall. Ireland currently has no indoor velodrome, so for the Irish team to be competitive on the world stage, bettering the national records each time they compete, it is doubly impressive.

Vereker and Hahessy were first on the track for the Irish, and felt the energy of the crowd; Vereker said; “You could hear a big cheer on the start line and hear it all the way around. You’re trying to block it out and concentrate on lap times.” Hahessy feels the rest of the squad will benefit from the Games getting underway with their performance in the Pursuit saying “That will get a bit of nervous energy out of their system too; we kind of opened the gates for them.”

Next up for the Irish Paracycling Team are the women’s tandem of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal, who compete tomorrow, Friday 9th September, in the WB Tandem Kilo and Eoghan Clifford and Colin Lynch competing in the Men’s C2 and C3 Individual Pursuit.

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