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Paralympics: Storey’s tale of success set to continue at Brands

Friday, August 31 2012

Amongst ParalympicsGB's road cycling medal hopes at Brands Hatch, Sarah Storey will be aiming to add to an already impressive tally of Gold Medals. Despite being just 34 years old, she will be taking part in her sixth Paralympics, with success in two sporting disciplines and a time trial title to defend.

Storey first competed as a teenage swimmer at the 1992 Barcelona Games and left Athens 12 years later with an impressive tally of 16 medals, including five golds. However a persistent ear infection the following year left her unable to train in the pool and she tried cycling out of curiosity. Limited funding meant she was forced to choose between the two, and four years ago in Beijing Storey claimed Gold in the velodrome as well as on the road.

Storey's performance in the individual pursuit would have placed her eighth in that year's Olympic final. This led to her being selected for 2010 Commonwealth games as part of cycling team and the first Paralympic cyclist to compete for England at the Commonwealth Games. Late last year she was selected for the World Cup pursuit team in Colombia as a try-out ahead of the Olympics, winning Gold alongside Laura Trott. However just a week later her ambitions to compete in both London Games were dashed when she was dropped from the line-up.

Storey has put this disappointment aside as she bids for further success, concentrating on the thrill of competition. Writing in her column for the Daily Telegraph she confirmed her enthusiasm: "It would not be overstating the case to say the Paralympics and competing in them has defined my life. I have loved every minute from the moment since I started. It is quite an emotional moment to be contemplating a home Games."

Storey, who was born without a left hand, will be competing in the C5 class for riders of conventional bicycles. She is highly optimistic about her chances: "I have been really pleased with my form and I aim to defend my road time trial next week at Brands Hatch. After the time-trial on the Wednesday (5 September) comes the road race the following day and from what I've seen it's going to be a fast, exciting course there. The road race is going to be very unpredictable but I have won three world championships in the event and would love to add a Paralympic title to that."

With a velodrome title to defend too, Storey has been training hard: "Physically it is not easy trying to combine track and road training and my basic approach has been to concentrate mainly on road work - I have been racing and time-trialling extensively all summer - and I was encouraged a week before the Olympics to be on the podium at the Tour of Limousin with the winner Marianne Vos, who took the Olympic road race title the following week."

Storey's Paralympics has already got off to a successful start with ParalympicsGB's first Gold Medal of the Games in the Women's C5 Individual Pursuit, adding truth to a summary of her preparation: "I'm under no illusions whatsoever: it all adds up to a huge challenge, physically and mentally, but that is half the fun. Now it is time to perform."

Click here to check availability for tickets to the Paralympic Road Cycling events at Brands Hatch.

Please note: this event is organised by LOCOG and only official London 2012 tickets are valid for admission. Any MSV-issued passes, for example media, residents' and season passes, are NOT valid for admission.