Rachel James going for gold in sister's absence

CYCLING FAMILY: Rachel James, bottom right, with dad David and younger sisters Becky, Meg and Ffion

CYCLING FAMILY: Rachel James, bottom right, with dad David and younger sisters Becky, Meg and Ffion

First published in Sport
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South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

DOUBLE world champion Becky James may be out of the Commonwealth Games but there will still be a James going for gold in Glasgow.

Becky’s older sister Rachel James is also a double world champion, winning gold and setting a new world record as a pilot for paracyclist Sophie Thornhill this year.

The pair won the Tandem B 1km time trial and the Tandem B sprint at the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships.

Now the oldest of the Abergavenny James clan will pilot Bridgend’s Rhiannon Henry in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome when the cycling gets under way next Thursday.

The pair will race in the para-sport sprint B tandem event and the para-sport 1000m time trial

Henry is a visually impaired cyclist and has competed in three Paralympic Games as a swimmer, winning two bronze medals in Athens in 2004.

She became part of the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme in 2013, and Glasgow 2014 will be her first Commonwealth Games as a cyclist.

“It will definitely be a different challenge because I’ve ridden with Sophie since I started and me and Rhiannon are obviously a new pairing.

“I’ve won the world championships but this is my first major Games, whereas Rhiannon has been at the Olympics and Commonwealths with her swimming.

“But this will be a new experience for her in the velodrome. She’s done it all though and she works really hard.

“I’d like to think we can win a medal in both our events,” she added. “It is going to be a challenge with the limited amount of time we’ve had together but I think we’re pretty strong and we have a good shot.”

James is looking forward to her first experience of a major Games and revealed that her younger sister will be a vital source of support and advice, even though she is not competing due to injury.

“Becky obviously has a lot of experience at major tournaments and the way she deals with it is great,” she said. “She just takes everything in her stride and we get on really well.

“We’re still really competitive but we also support each other so it works really well.

“Everyone assumes that I’m the younger sister but I’m three years older than Becks.

“She’s led by example and I do go to her for advice in terms of cycling, but I’m still the big sister in every other way!”

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