Paralympic medallist unable to socially distance

APELDOORN, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 29: Neil Fachie of the Great Britain Cycling Team looks on during day four of the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships at Omnisport Apeldoorn on March 29, 2015 in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images for British Cycling)
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Paralympic cycling medallist Neil Fachie says his visual impairment is preventing him from returning to the velodrome because he cannot practise social distancing.

The 36-year-old Scot has a degenerative eye condition, which means he has to use public transport.

So while others are returning to the track, Fachie is staying at home.

“I just don’t want to put myself in a situation that could cause any problems for myself or my family,” he said.

“My biggest concern is not so much at the velodrome itself or the training, but it is the travel. I have to rely on public transport, and cannot always see what other people are doing.

“It is a bit more of a concern keeping your distance. We were certainly never keen to go into supermarkets during the full lockdown.”

Fachie and his pilot Matt Rotherham started the year well by winning gold in the 1km time trial at the Para-cycling Track World Championships in Canada.

The pair were the favourites to do the same at the Paralympics in Tokyo later this year, before the Games were postponed until 2021.

But despite the Covid-19 outbreak frustrating his ambitions, Fachie, who followed up a gold medal at London 2012 with a silver in Rio four years later, remains determined to triumph in Japan.

“In some ways it has been mentally refreshing as well to come away from the stress of going to the velodrome every day,” he said.

“I want to be able to break records, and I think in order to win next year we are probably going to have to go and break a world record, that is certainly my plan.

“I am fully targeting gold and nothing else at the moment.” (BBC Sport)

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