KILLURIN cyclist Francine Meehan and her partner Catherine Walsh were in spectacular form at the 2012 Paracycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles bringing home a gold and bronze medal along with a coveted Rainbow Jersey which signifies their status as World Champions.
Francine is the sighted pilot of the tandem team with Swords native Catherine in the stroke position.
The pair got their championships off to a stunning start in the Home Depot Velodrome in the 3km Female Tandem Pursuit Qualifiers where they set a new Irish Record of 3:37.392 to finish in first place and guarantee a ride off for the Gold Medal in the afternoon’s finals.
Francine and Catherine were in the first Final Ride off against the British Tandem pairing of Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott. The Irish record holders rode a superbly paced race as the British duo built up almost a second lead by the half-way stage but Francine and Catherine picked up the pace and not only pulled back the British but had almost three seconds to spare when they crossed the line. It was a terrific performance that had the stadium on their feet.
The pair proudly received their gold medals and Rainbow Jersies at the medal presentation later in the day but their efforts at the Championships were far from complete.
They capped off a very successful Paracycling Track World Championships for the Irish team in America by taking the bronze medal in the women’s Match Sprint competition.
Walsh and Meehan set a new Irish record of 12.259 in qualifying to secure fourth place and a medal ride off. The Irish duo were out-foxed by a strong GB team in their semi-final ride-off but Walsh and Meehan got tactics spot on for the bronze medal ride-off against Germany.
The experienced Irish team, under the guidance and instruction of Denis Toomey, Brian Nugent and Gerry Beggs, has gone from strength to strength in recent years resulting in a team that holds one of Ireland’s biggest hope for Gold Medals this summer at Paralympic Games. The form at World Championships was excellent with the team winning two golds, a silver and bronze
Newly crowned World Champions Francine Meehan and Catherine Walsh accounted for two of the medals putting in with a superb chance of returning from London with gold.