Greater Manchester cyclist on the cusp of Paralympic history after 15th gold medal – as she inspires the next generation

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Almost 30 years since her first Paralympics medal – in a completely different sport – a Greater Manchester cyclist is on the cusp of making history.

Dame Sarah Storey, from Eccles, Salford, claimed the first gold medal for ParalympicsGB in the Tokyo 2020 games earlier today (August 25).

In doing so, the 43-year-old moves level with Darren Kenny on 10 medals as the joint-most decorated British cyclist in Paralympic history.

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Having first succeeded as a swimmer in the Barcelona 1992 games, Dame Storey has now won 15 Paralympic gold medals – one short of swimmer Mike Kenny’s British record – and a remarkable 26 medals overall.

She has the chance to break both those records later in the Tokyo games, when she defends her C5 time trial and C4-5 road race titles next week.

Dame Sarah Storey in action at the Tokyo games this morning

While Dame Storey pushes for more glory at the Paralympics, she is already inspiring the next generation of cyclists in Greater Manchester.

Members of the inclusive Mossley Cycle Racing Team trained at British Cycling’s Disability Hub, at the Tameside Cycle Circuit in Ashton, this morning as Dame Storey claimed her latest triumph.

They were joined by Jon Allan-Butterworth MBE, a four-time Paralympic medallist, including a gold at the Rio games in 2016.

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He said: “It was fitting to be here on the morning of Sarah’s latest medal triumph to see the impact that she and our other para cyclists are having in inspiring more people to get involved in the sport.

“It really demonstrates how sport has the power to inspire, break down barriers, shift perceptions and increase opportunities for all disabled people.”

Dame Storey’s success in the women’s C5 3,000m individual pursuit was the latest in a line medals dating back to 1992, when she won two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze in Barcelona.

Members of Mossley Cycle Racing Team with Jon Allan-Butterworth (right)
Members of Mossley Cycle Racing Team with Jon Allan-Butterworth (right)

She continued swimming in the next three Paralympic Games before switching to cycling in 2005, and is now competing in her eighth games.

The Disability Hub in Ashton hosts sessions run by British Cycling Go-Ride coaches which focus on developing technique, fitness and confidence.

It is one of a number of grassroots initiatives funded by The National Lottery and National Lottery players, who have also supported Dame Storey and ParalympicsGB since funding for Olympic and Paralympic sport began in 1997.

Mr Allan-Butterworth added: “It’s thanks to the National Lottery and those people who play it every week that Sarah and ParalympicsGB have been able to achieve this incredible success and that we’re able to see community and disability cycling initiatives like the one we’ve seen here today. That support is absolutely vital.”

If you’ve been inspired by ParalympicsGB athletes, visit parasport.org.uk to discover an inclusive community sport opportunity near you.

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