Katie-George Dunlevy will be part of a 46-strong Irish team taking part in the Paralympics in Rio, which begin next Wednesday, 7th September.
Katie-George, although born in the UK, qualified for Ireland because her father, John, is a native of Mountcharles. She will be taking part in the tandem cycling events with her partner Eve McCrystal.
This will be Katie-George's second Olympics and given her success along with Eve in recent times, hopes of bringing home a medal are very good.
Indeed, the recent form shown by the duo is excellent, notching a time of 50’06” in a 25mile Time Trial in Woodgreen on 9th August, a time over two minutes faster than the long standing existing record of 52’35”set by Gareth Crothers and Paul McMinn in 2006.
The following day the Rio bound duo also completed a 10mile Time Trial at Warrenpoint in a time of 20’27”, which is within a respectable shout of the 19’04” national record set by international cyclists Tommy Evans and Roger Aiken in 2006.
Both times recorded by Dunlevy and McCrystal were on courses that have been officially measured, with commissaires in place, so they are likely to be deemed new Paracycling national records, subject to ratification by the Board of Cycling Ireland.
“Their record in the 25 mile is faster than the current tandem national record which was set by two men, and the 10 mile is the fastest time recorded by an Irish female tandem over this distance, it should be a Paracycling national record once ratified. The times are exceptional as conditions on both nights were not particularly fast with wet roads for the 25 and unfavourable wind for the 10. I am confident they are where they need to be at this stage pre-Games," said performance coach, Neill Delahaye.
Katie-George was first introduced onto the cycling scene in August 2011, and has been steadily improving each year. She secured a seventh place finish in the 3km pursuit at the World Track Championships in January 2012, followed up by a 5th place finish at the Road World Cup in Rome May 2012. Katie-George went on to represent Ireland in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, where she achieved some Personal Bests time in the Track Pursuit and Track TT.
In 2014, Dunlevy and her pilot Eve McCrystal - who have quickly made their name on the para-cycling scene - stormed to silver in the Women’s B tandem Road Race at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in the USA and laid down a marker for a new force to be reckoned with in tandem para-cycling.
They went on to secure third place in the time trial in the World Road Cup in Italy in 2015, before competing at the Para-Cycling World Road Championships in Switzerland later that year, where they just missed out on bronze by the narrowest of margins after the judges consulted the finish line photo.
The 2016 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup was a highly successful event for the duo as they claimed gold in both the Time Trial and the Road Race events. They were unlucky to finish just outside the medals in the bronze medal ride-off in the WB 3km Pursuit at the 2016 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy.
Katie-George and Eve will have their first race on Friday 9th September at 10 a.m. and will also be in action on Sunday 11th, Wednesday 14th and Saturday, 17th September.