The first one came in the morning session with Australia’s Emily Petricola, who clocked 3min54s502 in the women’s C4 individual pursuit 3km qualification – half a second faster than the 3min55s006 of USA’s Shawn Morelli. Morelli got back at Petricola later though, when she claimed gold in the final. Australia’s Meg Lemon completed the podium.
The second world record of the day took place as British Sophie Thornhill shattered her own women’s B time trial 1km world record in 1min05s912 – her previous mark was almost a second slower. Silver medal went to Aussie Jessica Gallagher and Griet Hoet, from Belgium, was the bronze medalist.
“We knew we were going very well we just didn’t expect to beat it by that much. Usually we have a sense of the time, but not this time around. There is something special about the air in Brazil (laughs). This track has been really good to us”, said the 22-year-old Paralympic champion Thornhill.
The Rio Olympic Park Velodrome was home of the para cycling during Rio 2016 Paralympics and is deemed as one of the fastest tracks in the world. “We expected there would be a lot of world records here since it is a really fast track. The quality of the wood and the good upkeep set up a great competition environment”, said Edilson Alves da Rocha, director of competition.
In addition to the world records, a five-time world champion was crowned in Rio. Jozef Metelka, from Slovakia, accomplished his fifth straight men’s C4 4km individual pursuit world title. He again got the best of Australia’s Kyle Bridgewood in the rematch of the 2016 Paralympics’ final. Jaco Van Gass (GBR) was the bronze medallist.
Great Britain would still go on to win two more gold medals in the afternoon, the first one coming with Crystal Lane-Wright, who overcame Nicole Murray (NZL) and Samantha Bosco (USA) in the women’s C5 3km individual pursuit. GB also had a 1-2 finish in the men’s B 1km time trial race, with Neil Fachie getting gold and James Ball silver. Tristan Bangma, from The Netherlands, got the bronze.
Two races finished the day off. In men’s C5 4km individual pursuit, Ukraine’s Yehor Dementyev won gold over British Jonathan Gildea and Dutch Daniel Gebru. Lastly, Caroline Groot (NED) won the women’s C4-5 Scratch in a close finish with Colombia’s Paula Andrea Ossa. Argentina’s Mariela Delgado was the third.
IPC’s President Andrew Parsons was in attendance on Saturday and underlined the usage of a structure from the Rio 2016 Games in such an important competition. That’s the first international event of Rio’s Velodrome since the Games.
“It is great to be back in the Olympic Park’s Velodrome knowing that the Paralympic Movement displays such a high level of performance to make the debut of a legacy of the Games. Para cycling is one of the most exciting sports and it is great to be back here”, said Andrew Parsons.
The competition comes to a close on Sunday with the B sprints events for teams and the men’s scratch 15km final for two classes: C1-3 and C4-5.
The 2018 Track Worlds include 171 athletes (50 women and 121 men) from 30 countries competing across four days of competition. The competition is the first one that athletes can collect ranking points towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Full results from Rio can be found here: http://paraworlds2018.veloresults.com/index.php