Fiona Duncan sighted Tandem pilot
Fiona is a sighted Tandem pilot for Lora Turnham. After leaving school, Fiona re-discovered physical activity whilst training to pass the Police entrance fitness test in 2000.
She was introduced to Tandem Piloting in 2010 after meeting Para-Cyclist Tandem Sprinter, Neil Fachie. She started riding the tandem with Lora Turnham that year, and they won a silver medal at the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in 2011 after riding together for just 6 weeks.
The highlight of her career to date is winning a first Gold medal together with Lora in the World Cup Time Trial in Segovia, June 2012.
At the Paralympics Fiona’s most looking forward to seeing, hearing and feeling the British public supporting them and will do her very best to make them proud and inspire them. Her dream was to be a Paralympian and to win a Paralympic Gold Medal.
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Hello and welcome to Action for Blind People's Paralympics podcast.
I'm Hayley Blowers and I recently visited the National Cycling Centre in Manchester where I met up with Paralympics cycling hopeful Fiona Duncan who is training hard for the big event.
My name is Fiona Duncan, I'm from Aberdeen. I don't have an eye condition, I'm a sighted pilot that rides on a tandem with a blind athlete
in order that they can participate in competitive cycling.
My husband got me into cycling back in 2003, just initially from a leisure sort of participation element
and I discovered I was quite good at it so I just kept cycling and got involved with a local cycling club and eventually got to the standard
where I was selected by British Cycling to help them out with the team.
I got involved with riding the tandem in the winter of 2010.
I went to selection process with a few other girls to see if they could find a new pilot to work with Laura and then I was picked along with Laura to go to the World Championships which
was on the track.
That was in February of 2011 so having only ridden together for five or six weeks, we found ourselves off to the World Championships and we did really well.
We got a silver medal in that competition which led to us working together for longer and then we find ourselves here getting ready for the Paralympics.
I've always had a burning desire to do the best that I can so to be able to push my limits every day in a training and a racing environment is fantastic.
It really lets me feel like I'm doing the best I can and that is one of the things that I have always sort of aspired to do but once I've come to work with the paracycling team,
it's given me a whole new level of motivation and for me to have the big goal of getting to the Paralympics in London,
you know that was a really big motivator but I found that working with other people in the team, they inspire and motivate me every day and you know as athletes,
we inspire one another but I find the people that I am working with, you know each individual person has got a story about their disability
or how they came to sport and you know if I ever think that I need a little bit of motivation,
I just think of some of the experiences that they have gone through and the things that they overcome to participate in their sport and it just pushes me on too.
Really, really proud I think is the overwhelming feeling I have about my involvement with this.
You know what I do on the tandem, I ride on the front and I facilitate the athletic performance of the blind athlete who rides on the back and without somebody on the front to do that,
they wouldn't be able to participate in the sport so I feel really privileged to be able to do that and to help in this way. I'm really proud that you know I'm able to represent Great Britain
and go to the Paralympics.
It is a really amazing experience to have gone from being a club cyclist, you know just an amateur person doing it for fun and as I realised that I had some talent there,
I did start to take it a bit more seriously and it started to become less fun and a bit more hard work and I can remember thinking to myself you know I don't have to keep doing this.
You know, at what point does it start becoming a hobby and start becoming hard work and a chore but I still love doing it, I love competing, it's one of the reasons why I keep doing it.
I don't think ever in my wildest dreams I thought that I would get an opportunity like this but that has happened for me, I did get this opportunity.
I volunteered to be the person that would ride on the tandem and I was the one that got picked at the end of the day so to feel that going from you know a club cyclist and just doing it for
fun, to finding myself now riding with Laura on a tandem at the Paralympics games, it's just, you know, it's the kind of thing that dreams are made of really.
To be part of the Paralympics GB Team is just you know overwhelmingly a feeling of proudness for me.
I think just, you know, I'm so proud of myself for achieving my goal, that's what we've been working towards for two years to try and get here and now in a matter of weeks
we are going to be competing there and I'm just so looking forward to you know having everyone in Great Britain you know and all the world watching.
I'm especially looking forward to feeling what it is going to be like to have that home support and all the people who are going to be cheering for us,
we are going to be able to hear it and see them and feel the atmosphere.
You know, to think they are all cheering for us is fantastic and to think that maybe I can inspire someone by what I'm doing, that makes me feel really special.
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- Fiona Duncan sighted Tandem pilot