Medal first for cyclist
PROSERPINE cyclist David Nicholas is likely to miss today's opening ceremony of the London Paralympics Games.
But he won't miss the chance to win medals at his first Paralympics, his father David said from London yesterday.
"David may not go in the opening ceremony because he has to race the next day," his father said.
"If you race the next day, you don't go to the opening ceremony."
The three-hour opening ceremony, called Enlightenment, has been sold out.
Along with Mackay's Cobi Crispin, Nicholas looks a good chance of claiming medals in London.
Crispin is a member of the Australian Gliders women's wheelchair basketball team, which she was a member of at the 2008 Paralympics.
The Gliders won bronze at Beijing, and Crispin, a leg amputee, now lives in Melbourne, where the team is based.
Nicholas is world champion in the 3km pursuit and road time trial, and will compete in those events in London.
He starts his campaign in the 1km time trial today and will also race in the 200m pursuit, sprint race, 20km team time trial and 60km road race.
David Snr said his son, a cerebral palsy sufferer, was feeling confident following training in Wales in the lead-up to the Games, after which the team moved into the Paralympics village.
"He said he is feeling good," he said. "He has had training sessions on the velodrome so he is improving his skills in that area.
"He's been trying to keep his emotions in check. Just trying to prepare for it like any big event.
"But this undoubtedly will be his biggest event."
Nicholas will have a cheer squad of his father and his wife Jodie, his grandmother Jennifer and his mother Catherine, from Tully.
Australia has 160 athletes competing at the Paralympics, which features 21 sports.
- Opening ceremony today from early morning Mackay time
- Competition begins today Mackay time in a range of events, including wheelchair basketball and cycling