“A double world champion from the Parish of Inver. We have never seen anything like that.” Those were the words of the Lord Mayor of Mountcharles, Michael Kerrigan, as we waited the arrival of double world paracycle champion, Katie-George Dunlevy at Christy Dunlevy’s outside Donegal Town on Sunday morning.
Katie-George arrived with her mum and dad, John and Alannah, to present one of her world rainbow jerseys to the family of the late Liam Hyland and the Donegal Bay Cycling Club. The late Mr Hyland was a great supporter of Katie-George and also had a love of cycling.
Katie-George has now brought back Olympic and World gold to her father’s native parish as she and her tandem partner, Eve McChrystal, continue to set the world standard representing Ireland.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, Katie-George, who is based in England, said it was great to be back in Ireland and in Donegal with two more world gold medals, recently won at the World Championships in Italy in August.
“We went to Italy five weeks ago hoping to retain our title but you never know how racing will be on the day. It was very hot. There were expectations there from other people but more so ourselves.
“There were really tough races but I’m delighted to get the medal,” said Katie-George.
The focus now is for the Tokyo Olympics but there will be more world championships and other events before then.
“We’re not necessarily going to get much stronger but there are other things we can work on. We cannot become complacent,” said Katie-George.
The pair are now very experienced, being together for a number of years and they are thriving on the pressure. “We don’t want to let each other down. We want to win every race. I know I love training and all the preparation work,” said Katie-George, who added that they have also got a great support team.
“Without that support I wouldn’t be able to do it; the home network, the support of my coaches, the Institute of Sport and Sport Ireland. That support is integral to us competing.”
By now Katie-George’s visits to Donegal are regular and on Sunday morning there was a terrific turnout from the Donegal Bay Cycling Club.
“It’s great to come back and show the medals and share it with the locals here. I hope it gives them pride and is inspiration for the youngsters coming through. I hope it gives them hope that they can achieve anything they want to achieve with hard work.”
Her parents John and Alannah are certainly enjoying the journey with Katie-George and all going well there will be more visits with more medals at world and Olympic level.
“It’s all about getting qualification points for Tokyo now and we’re on target at the minute,” says Katie-George.