Rio Paralympics Day 1 - Tipp and Kilkenny put differences aside to race in tandem

Rio Paralympics Day 1 - Tipp and Kilkenny put differences aside to race in tandem
Damien Vereker of Ireland, left, along with his pilot Sean Hahessy after a training session in the Olympic Velodrome ahead of their Pursuit and B Kilo Tandem B in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

It’s a delicate week to have a Tipp and a Kilkenny man racing in the same tandem pairing but hurling rivalry will not distract Damien Vereker and Sean Hahessy from their task today, writes Cliona Foley.

They’re the first of Ireland’s strong Paralympic cycling team in action in Rio, and open with the four kilometre Pursuit in the Olympic Velodrome today.

The pair were actually training when the big match took place last Sunday and have only seen clips of it on YouTube.

But Tipp man Hahessy (21), from Carrick-on-Suit, quipped “obviously I was a lot happier with the result than Damien!” and said his only regret is that he has forgotten to bring a Tipp flag with him to Brazil.

The Carrick Wheelers racer is piloting for Waterford-based Vereker, a partially-sighted cyclist from Kilmacow and, while they’re also in the road races in Rio, they have targeted the Pursuit as their best event.

“Our target is four minutes and 16 seconds, I think that’s very close to a medal,” Hahessy said. “Second to eighth place will be separated by just a second or two. We just have to make sure we are on the right side of that.”

Irish In Action Today (*If reach final)

14:01: Ailbhe Kelly (swimming) - S8 400m freestyle heats.* Final at 21:54.

15:30 Greta Streimiktye (athletics) - T13 1500m heats.

15:31 James Scully (swimming) - S5 200m freestyle heats.* Final at 23:59.

15:45 Damien Vereker & Sean Hahessy (track cycling) - tandem Pursuit qualifier.

16:00 Sean Baldwin (shooting) - R1 10m Rifle standing qualifier.* Final at 18:30.

17:00 Rena McCarron Rooney (table-tennis) - SF1 Women's singles qualifier.

18:00 Men's 7-a-side football - Group game v Ukraine.

21:38 Damien Vereker & Sean Hahessy (track cycling) - tandem Pursuit final.

23:19 Jason Smyth (athletics) - T13 100m heats.

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