Eve McCrystal took a third Paralympic medal on Saturday morning, when she won a silver medal in the 3000m pursuit at the Tokyo Velodrome. McCrystal is the pilot for track cyclist Katie-George Dunlevy, and her family have called for better facilities, including a velodrome, in Ireland to aid track cyclists in their training.
The two put in a fantastic performance to storm to a silver medal, having taken a gold and silver in Rio five years ago - but they've had to carry out all of their training overseas due to the lack of a velodrome in Ireland.
Family of Paralympic medalist call for a velodrome in Ireland
Eve McCrystal saw some brilliant success in Tokyo on Saturday morning as pilot for Katie-George Dunlevy, but most of their training for the Paralympics was done on velodromes in the UK. There are currently no velodromes in Ireland, meaning cyclists have to conduct their training overseas.
McCrystal's family were of course unable to travel to Tokyo for this year's Paralympics due to COVID restrictions, but they had a race of their own to take in on Saturday morning, as her 12-year-old nephew Rian took a silver medal at the National Mountain Bike Championships in Newry.
Ireland's Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal pushed Team GB all the way in a compelling gold medal race en route to winning silver #rtesport #paralympics #paracycling
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📺Watch live - https://t.co/RANaZnophs pic.twitter.com/nYlxfLu4s2
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 28, 2021
In the aftermath of his son's triumph, Eve McCrystal's brother Brian spoke to the Irish Times, and he called on the relevant sporting bodies to invest in better cycling facilities in Ireland - including the construction of a velodrome.
Eve has made a lot of sacrifices. She has a young family who are 13 and 11. She has had to do a long time away from them (to train) so there is a bit of sacrifice.
How many more Olympics do we have to go through and come to the end of them and say that ‘Ireland needs a velodrome?’ We knew this twenty years ago. When are they going to get the support?
There are kids there who are ten years of age who are potentially Olympic champions if we have the facilities.
If Team Ireland are to hope for more Paralympic cycling success, and to break into the medal places at the Olympics, then better facilities have to be offered to cyclists, and investment in a velodrome would be a fantastic first step.
It's a shame that Eve McCrystal and Katie-George Dunlevy's triumph in Tokyo came in spite of rather than thanks to training conditions in Ireland, but it is nonetheless a fantastic achievement, and they have two more opportunities for medals in the final week of the Paralympics.