New Aussie Cycling Sensation Upstages The World
South Australia’s Sarnya Parker had been a national top 10 pentathlete before Paralympic cyclist, the late Kieran Modra, convinced Parker to switch to cycling and introduced her to his sister, Tania. Within 18 months, Parker and Tania Modra were Paralympic gold medallists.
If Day 1 of Sydney 2000 was the entrée, Day 2 was the start of the main course, with several sports getting their competitions underway, including athletics, sailing, fencing, sitting volleyball, swimming and wheelchair tennis.
However, it was cycling that again provided the gold medal moments, with Parker and pilot Modra winning the 1 kilometre time trial tandem, ahead of national colleagues Lyn Lepore and pilot Lynette Nixon, who claimed silver.
Parker and Modra didn’t just win the event, they averaged over 50 km/h to smash the world record and finished more than six seconds clear of the field.
MORE: download your copy of The Australian Paralympian 20-year Anniversary souvenir magazine (PDF 6,526KB).
That afternoon, also at Dunc Gray Velodrome, Greg Ball, Paul Lake and Matthew Gray won gold in the mixed Olympic sprint, defeating France in the final.
“We did really well today,” Lake told ABC that night. “We were favourites for the event and talked about it over the week that being favourites and actually delivering the goods are two different stories, but we probably did it today. We’re happy.
“The three of us are really good friends so, basically, we wanted to do it for each other today and everything took care of itself.”
Our thanks to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for providing the footage to support our 20-year anniversary celebrations.
For more information about the history of the Paralympic Movement in Australia, visit the Australian Paralympic History website.
By David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 20 October 2020