Track Cycling

Aberdeen’s Neil Fachie could attempt to top Scotland all-time list at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Aberdeen Evening Express

Neil Fachie used to think the 2020 Paralympics would be his last major event.

But now the Aberdonian cycling star is aiming for more glory for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.

Fachie has achieved it all on the track, winning Olympic gold at the games in London in 2012 and claiming 13 World Championship gold medals over the last decade.

When representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, the 35-year-old has claimed two golds at both Glasgow 2014 and the games on Australia’s Gold Coast two years ago.

And Fachie has a desire to end his career having won more golds for Scotland than anyone else – he’s one behind bowler Alex Marshall.

That’s why Fachie, who is gearing up for the World Para Track Cycling Championships in Canada at the end of this month, is already thinking of competing beyond this year’s Paralympics in Tokyo – and until the Commonwealths in Birmingham in 2022.

He said: “For a long time I thought 2020 would be my last Paralympics. But I’ve got to this stage and I’m still improving.

“And one thing that’s keeping me going is the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“We’re still waiting for confirmation of the events but if tandem racing is still in then I’d be very tempted to stick around for that.

“If I’m still feeling the way I am and tandem racing is in, I’d be very tempted to keep going because it would be a great games.

“I thought I’d make a decision after Tokyo. I have not decided either way, but as we get closer I’m leaning more towards carrying on.

“I would love to represent Scotland again and it would be nice to climb that leaderboard of all-time Scottish medalists at Commonwealth Games.

“Alex Marshall snuck ahead of me at Gold Coast so it would be amazing to try to get to the top of the leaderboard.

“It would be a huge ask but I’d love to try.”

After the World Championships at the end of the month, Fachie and pilot Matt Rotherham will turn their attention to the Paralympics.

While the duo will be able to compete in the one-kilometre time trial and the sprint at the worlds in Milton, only the time trial is included in the Paralympic programme.

Fachie admits that adds pressure as he goes in pursuit of a second Paralympic gold medal.

Neil Fachie won Paralympic gold.

He added: “The fun is taken out of it a little bit because you don’t go into races and just enjoy it, like you did when there were more events.

“I love competing and racing but when there’s so much on the line it is a bit different.

“There’s a part of you that can’t wait for it but there’s another part just wants it to go well and get it over with.

“In Tokyo we only have one event, the kilometre, but not the sprint.

“It frustrates me because the sprint was in at London, but dropped for Rio and there is talk of it maybe coming back in for Paris 2024. But it’s frustrating because I think it’s my better event.

“We train for the kilo because it’s the Paralympic event, but it means there’s only one chance and one ride in Tokyo.

“Four years of work is on that one moment in time and you’re very aware of that when you get there. The pressure is intense.”

One thing that ensures Fachie is ready to deliver his best is the level of competition in training.

He and Rotherham will be competing with fellow Brits James Ball and Lewis Stewart in training and at the World Championships to establish themselves as the top British pair ahead of Tokyo.

Fachie said: “We have plenty of competition in training because everyone sets such a high standard.

“There are guys around me who are the next best in the world and ready to take my place in the team. You get the competitive racing spirit from training.

“Some days you think you’d like an easy day and other people are doing world-class times so you have to push yourself harder.

“It’s good to have that but it can be tiring as well.”