- Lora triumphs in B 3000m invididual pursuit in velodrome
- Neil and pilot Matthew Rotherham win B 1000m time trial
ParalympicsGB finished the final day of track cycling in the Izu Velodrome at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with a flurry of medals, taking a clean sweep of all three golds available, and also securing a silver and a bronze.
Neil Fachie took gold in the men’s B 1000m time trial ahead of teammate James Ball. In the process Fachie and pilot Matthew Rotherham broke their own world record, clocking a time of 58.083sec. Less than an hour later, Fachie’s wife Lora took gold in the women’s B 3000m individual pursuit eventually winning by two seconds in another world record. The silver earned by Katie-George Dunleavy, Lora Fachie’s defeated opponent in the final, was Ireland’s second medal of the Paralympics. British debutant Sophie Unwin won the bronze race in the same event.
There were inevitable comparisons to Britain’s other golden couple of cycling – Jason and Laura Kenny, who have 12 Olympic gold medals between them. Neil said: “The Kennys are an incredible family so to be even in the same sentence as them is amazing. Lora and I have had mixed success over the years. I won in London, she lost out due to a mechanical [failure], she won gold in Rio and I failed there. We thought the moment might not actually happen when we both won gold.”
It was a third Paralympic title for Liverpool-born 32-year-old Lora, who won two golds in Rio in 2016. “I’ve never successfully defended a title before so I’m just delighted and it’s been an incredible day,” she said. “For me, it’s been a childhood dream to be a world record holder and I now am, thanks to my pilot Corrine Hall.”
It might not be the last hurrah for the Fachies, either. Neil, who was born in Aberdeen and has the congenital eye condition retinitis pigmentosa, said: “It’s been a tough year for everyone. Some people have retired from sport and both of us thought that it might be it for us after Tokyo. We’ve now both got this renewed love for cycling. We did long rides in lockdown and Lora was absolutely destroying me. I’m a sprinter, I don’t do long rides! I’d get up in the morning and Lora would say: ‘Here we go again!’ But it made me so fit and I really enjoyed it. It was just fun, there was no pressure. I can see why she’s a Paralympic champion.”