By Mark Etheridge
Cyclist Roxy Burns will miss another Paralympic opening ceremony on Wednesday evening… but that’s a small sacrifice as she aims to contribute to the Team SA medal tally in Rio.
Stellenbosch based Burns, who turns 28 next month, will be competing at her third Paralympics, Beijing (2008) and London (2012) being the other two.
She suffers from Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a rare, genetic, progressive disorder that shows up as a combination of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and immune disorders.
Previously classified as a C4 rider, the fact that her condition has generated somewhat, means she’ll be riding in the C3 class this time out.
In Rio as part of a six-strong para-cycling team, she’s just one of two track cyclists, Dane Wilson being the other, although she’ll also be taking on the road time trial.
‘Training has been going well,’ she said from Rio. ‘The track is fast and in fact it still smells new.
‘I’m racing on the 8th, 10th on the track and then the 14th in the road time trial.
‘The 10th is my main race (the 500m) and then there’s the 3km on Thursday the eighth. Qualification in the morning and final in the afternoon.
‘I’m not expecting to make the 3km final though but looking for a personal best. I’ve got chance at medalling for the 500.
‘As for the road event… I just want a good ride.’
Speaking on the atmosphere at these Games compared to her previous two Paralympics she says: ”It’s a totally different vibe to London vibe. It’s more similar to Beijing. It’s great!’