“None of us can quite get our heads around the community support…people have just been so genuine…I suppose that’s rural Ireland for you!”
Richael Timothy’s family will be cheering her on from Ballymoe and Abu Dhabi next week as she makes her bow at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Richael’s parents, Tommy and Rosaleen, and brother Rónán will be watching on from Ireland while her other brother Ross is currently working in Abu Dhabi.
Rosaleen, a teacher at Castlerea Community School, said the family are relieved the Games are now going ahead.
“We are kind of relieved that they can proceed now, you never know what could happen with Covid-19, and after all their Trojan work, it’s good to see them get there and take part,” she said.
“We have been talking to Richael since she arrived in Matsuda and thankfully, the temperatures don’t seem to be too high, although they are in the 30s! The humidity though is about 92 percent. Most of the work so far has been outdoors and she is training two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon with the rest of the time spent at the hotel.
“The people there seem very friendly and the para-cyclists’ training routes were circulated which meant that local children showed up to wave and cheer them on, which was lovely,” she added.
Rosaleen said travelling with bike boxes and other equipment has been a challenge.
“They do a lot of the work around this themselves but it develops great independence too,” she said.
“It’s a joke amongst the cyclists that their families ask ‘Why in the name of God didn’t you choose swimming?’ At least then they would only have to carry a cap and a pair of goggles!”
Rosaleen and the rest of the Timothys are understandably proud of Richael’s achievement in qualifying for the Games and have been blown away by the support they have received in Ballymoe and further afield.
“I’m really happy for her. There were two roads she could have taken at one stage and she decided to dig in and see how far she could get with this. We never dreamed that this would come around so quickly and we are very proud of her. It’s such a big achievement to qualify and now she can go and do her best,” she said.
“None of us can quite get our heads around the community support. An interview with Richael appeared on Virgin Media TV on Tuesday and we were still receiving well wishes. People have just been so genuine…I suppose that’s rural Ireland for you! I don’t know how you go about thanking everyone but we are very grateful for all the good wishes and support,” she concluded.