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Schrager follows in Cox's footsteps with transition from athletics to para-cycling

Schrager follows in Cox's footsteps with transition from athletics to para-cycling

Britain's Daphne Schrager in action during the women's C2 individual pursuit finals
Britain's Daphne Schrager in action during the women's C2 individual pursuit finals

Daphne Schrager is following in the wake of four-time Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox as she tries to transition from athletics to para-cycling.

The Malmsbury star shocked the field to win C3 individual pursuit gold at the Para Track Cycling World Championships on debut last year.

In August she will look to defend her title in Glasgow, four years after swapping elite athletics for cycling as she was leaving school.

And having seen the success that close ally Cox enjoyed at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, where she scooped medals in both sports, Schrager was faced with a conundrum.

Schrager said: “I was finishing my A-Levels at the time thinking, is this really what I want to do? Am I going to go to university? Am I still going to do parasport? I’m not sure.

“But at the time I wasn’t going to be good enough to go to the Paralympics for athletics, to be completely transparent.

“But also I loved cycling because I’m bit of an adrenaline junkie, anything with speed. I like to take a take a few risks along the way, hopefully you don’t crash - happy days.”

Schrager’s obsession with the Paralympics stemmed from London 2012, seeing first-hand the possibilities for sporty youngsters like her.

Schrager said: “For me it was the first glimpse of Paralympic sport at its best. Before then, I didn’t really know what you could necessarily do with your disability.

“I’d never really seen it on a big stage where there were so many para sports all doing brilliantly well.

“That really inspired me and it was phenomenal to watch. Then from there I thought I could actually have a go at this and see what happens.”

Schrager is one of over 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for her pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.

With the Paris 2024 Paralympics only one year away, the Games are set to inspire people and communities all across the country. Schrager hopes that by sharing her story it will give others motivation to get involved into sport.

And while Schrager, who has cerebral palsy, could only secure tickets for the para dressage, she was already beginning to picture herself in the ParalympicsGB jersey.

The former Millfield School pupil is closer than ever before to a Games appearance and Paris 2024 is firmly in her crosshairs.

Schrager said: “You always dream of going to a Paralympics as a child, but whether it actually comes to fruition, you never really know.

“But I guess for me, I’ve had such a jump from doing athletics to cycling and the team environment has been so good, now I’m starting to believe that maybe that could be me on the plane to Paris.

“There’s an opportunity for me to take so I think it’s very exciting. I’m not getting ahead of myself and there’s still a long way to go.

“But yeah, I would say that now, 12 years on, I do think there’s a strong case.”

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