Paralympics: Aileen McGlynn upbeat on challenge of bettering Beijing medal haul

THREE-time gold medallist Aileen McGlynn feels ready to carry the weight of expectancy that comes with being a British cyclist as ParalympicsGB bid to outdo their phenomenal medals tally from four years ago.

In Beijing, McGlynn claimed two of the 17 golds won by British Paralympic cyclists as they dominated the sport. And it is something they will be expected to do once more, only this time in front of a home crowd at London 2012.

Glasgow-born McGlynn has the task of defending her pursuit and 1km time trial titles, riding tandem with Helen Scott. The pair are among the favourites, although they are certain to face tough competition in the form of fellow Brits Lora Turnham and Fiona Duncan.

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Three silver medals at the World Championships in Los Angeles earlier this year shows they are in good form but McGlynn – who also won time trial gold and sprint silver at Athens 2004 – knows it will be no easy task.

“I am the defending Paralympic champion in both the kilometre and the pursuit so there is an expectation that I’ll go out and win both,” admits the 39-year-old, who is registered blind and was born with albinism. But the competition has moved on a lot and we will have to be at the top of our game to repeat the success I had with Ellen Hunter in Beijing.

“It was great to come away from there with two gold medals but the competition has definitely moved on since then.

“It is certainly the aim to win two gold medals but so as long as I can come away knowing that I have done everything I can to be the best that I can be, then I will be satisfied. For the kilometre I think the Australians will be our biggest rivals, but in the pursuit there are a lot of gold medal candidates, it really is anyones. There is the Americans, the New Zealanders and the Irish, plus our fellow Brits too which is something we didn’t have last time around.

“It is quite interesting and we have had World Championships where we have gone up against each other and it has swung between the two pairings who have won on different occasions.

“For us, the preparation has gone well and with the crowd behind us in London hopefully everything will come together for us on the day.”

McGlynn trains in Manchester alongside the likes of Jason Kenny, Laura Trott and fellow Scot Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s greatest ever Olympian who picked up two more gold medals earlier this summer. She believes ParalympicsGB can take inspiration from the performances of a dominant Olympics by British cyclists, to ensure the feel-good factor of the Velodrome continues over the next couple of weeks.

“It was really fantastic to watch the Olympic guys win so many gold medals and dominate the track,” said McGlynn. “It was inspiring to watch them and to think we will be racing in front of the same crowds, it’s amazing.

“I share the same track as Chris and he is always friendly to talk to and really helpful. If you have any questions he is quite happy to answer them for you. He is a great guy who hasn’t changed over the years. He is still down to earth and approachable. As a team we all want to be as successful as we have been in the past.”

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