Tokyo 2020

Storied Sarah on course for history

Cycling great began career in pool in 1992 and can break British record with road race gold

TOKYO • Cycling queen Sarah Storey is primed to become the greatest British Paralympian if she retains her C4-5 road race title tomorrow.

It would be a Tokyo golden hat-trick for the 43-year-old, who made it look easy yesterday as she blew away a high-class field in the women's road C5 time trial at the Fuji International Speedway to secure her 27th medal overall.

Storey, who also won the 3,000m pursuit gold on the track a week ago, later revealed it was her preparations that set her apart from her peers.

"It's you against the clock, and trying to pick off your competitors as you see them," she said.

"I love watching time trials, I love putting it all together so when you get to race them and they go so well, they feel amazing."

It was a repeat of last week's pursuit one-two for Britain at the velodrome as compatriot Crystal Lane-Wright again took the silver.

But she was more than a 1½ minutes behind Storey's winning time of 36min 8.90sec for her three laps of the 8km circuit.

Germany's Kerstin Brachtendorf was third.

"Every corner felt really quick and really smooth," said Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand.

"I got caught up in a bit of traffic in certain parts of the course, so I just had to navigate my way around that but apart from that, it was super quick."

Storey's longevity is remarkable. She began her Paralympic career in the swimming pool as a 14-year-old at Barcelona in 1992 and is now tied on 16 golds with para-swimmer Mike Kenny, who competed from 1976 to 1988.

Few will bet against her winning a third successive road race after taking gold in London 2012 and Rio five years ago and Storey is looking forward to rewriting more history.

She said: "Thursday morning, I'll come out and try to have some fun and see which way the cookie crumbles. It's an exciting opportunity. It's nerve-racking, absolutely - I have as many butterflies as anyone - but it's also so exciting to take that opportunity and put it all down there on a race day."

In track and field, Afghan Paralympian Hossain Rasouli yesterday beat the odds to compete in the T47 long jump.

Despite finishing last on 4.46m, - he was supposed to have competed in the 100m T47 event only for the Taliban's takeover of the country to ruin those plans - it was still a mini-miracle he managed to fly into Tokyo following a dramatic evacuation from Kabul after the Taliban takeover.

Rasouli and Zakia Khudadadi, a taekwondo exponent, are being shielded from the media to give them space, but American medallist Roderick Townsend said that he "only felt joy" the Afghan duo managed to make it to Japan.

"We get so caught up in our personal lives, and I'm here complaining about a silver medal (7.43m) and we have somebody making their way across the world to be able to do something that we all love to do," he said.

Separately, Chiba prefecture has cancelled its participation in the Paralympics' school spectator programme after a guiding teacher tested positive for Covid-19.The Games are behind held behind closed doors but a select number of school children have been allowed to watch events depending on local regulations.

Masa Takaya, the spokesman for Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said other local governments would carry on as usual.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2021, with the headline 'Storied Sarah on course for history'. Subscribe