Now, suc­cess at cy­cling, too

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Kate Ho­ran’s world track cy­cling medal can of­ten be found hang­ing on door han­dles in her home and around her 2-year-old’s neck, but she doesn’t mind a bit.

The 38-year-old Aotea res­i­dent was the new­bie in the six-strong New Zealand team at the para­cy­cling world track cham­pi­onships, held last month in Aguas­calientes, Mex­ico.

Ho­ran has been a be­low-theknee am­putee since the age of 5, be­cause of a short­en­ing of the tibia and ab­sence of the fibula bone.

Along with bat­tling nerves and 45- de­gree Cel­sius heat in her 500m time trial and 3km in­di­vid­ual pur­suit events in Mex­ico, it was the long­est length of time she had been away from 2-year-old son Max.

‘‘It was hard be­ing away from him and my fam­ily [she also has a part­ner and two teenage sons] for 11 days. But I was so busy that I just got on with it,’’ she said.

Ho­ran has pre­vi­ous form as a run­ner, tak­ing the sil­ver medal in the 200m at the 2008 Bei­jing Par­a­lympics.

She qual­i­fied for the 2012 Lon­don Par­a­lympics, but in­juries and Max put paid to that.

‘‘I stayed re­ally fit dur­ing my preg­nancy and would take Max to the track af­ter he was born. But I sat down with my coach and re­alised that, with breast­feed­ing, I couldn’t give 100 per cent to run­ning.

‘‘It was a tough de­ci­sion to leave it be­hind, but I was so aware how pre­cious Max was and how he needed me more.’’

She switched to cy­cling 18 months ago to fill the com­pet­i­tive void. Ho­ran said her cy­cling tech­nique was ‘‘all over the shop’’, be­cause she can’t get low enough over the han­dle­bars, but nev­er­the­less she qual­i­fied for Aguas­calientes.

In­tense train­ing ses­sions – of­ten on her own on a sta­tion­ary bike in her garage – while jug­gling fam­ily life was not easy, but it paid off in Mex­ico.

She set a good time for her 500m time trial, com­ing off the track shat­tered with her legs seiz­ing up.

She was de­ter­mined not to watch what other com­peti­tors’ times were, but was told she was still leading with just the Chi­nese world champ to go.

‘‘When I knew I was go­ing to get a medal I burst into tears; it was em­bar­rass­ing. Bei­jing was a big deal, but this was up there for me.

‘‘The phone call I made home later was pretty emo­tional.’’

Now she has had a break, so it’s time to get back into the of­ten­neglected ther­a­peu­tic mas­sage stud­ies while still putting in time on the bike and in the gym.

There is one goal on the hori­zon: the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Par­a­lympics.


Two wheels: Aotea Par­a­lympic ath­lete Kate Ho­ran made her name as a run­ner, but now it’s cy­cling.

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