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World record, tumble make NZ rider limelight at cycling
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21:11, September 08, 2008


Paula Tesoriero of New Zealand competes in the Women's 500m Time Trial(LC3-4/CP3) final of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games cycling track event on Sept. 8, 2008. Tesoriero broke the world record and claimed the title of the event with a time of 43.281 secs.(Xinhua Photo)



Paula Tesoriero of New Zealand competes in the Women's 500m Time Trial(LC3-4/CP3) final of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games cycling track event on Sept. 8, 2008. Tesoriero broke the world record and claimed the title of the event with a time of 43.281 secs.(Xinhua Photo)

New Zealand cyclist Paula Tesoriero tumbled heavily to the track after setting a world record at the Laoshan Velodrome, but strongly came back on the top podium to receive the first-ever Paralympic gold for her country.

In the women's 500m time trial (LC3-4/CP 3) Monday morning, Tesoriero was speeding all the way to pursue her personal best. To the roars of thousands of spectators, she rushed across the terminal, setting a new world record at 43.281 seconds and winning the historical gold for New Zealand.

When she finished her race and rode slowly across the corner, she abruptly went airborne, fell, then laid on the ground in pain, glassy-eyed and jaw bleeding. Hush fell over the cheerful crowd, who stunned to see her unmovable.

Her coach and medical assistants ran into the lane, lying her on the stretcher right away. The great pain even made the 33-year-old unable to speak, her chin and hands shaking uncontrollably.

Her mother, who watched her competition at the tribune and was about to hand over a national flag to her beloved, was shocked at the accident and kept wiping her tears.

At that very moment, the screen announced Tesoriero's new world record and gold. To the bravos of the whole stadium, the New Zealander looked at the screen and burst into tears. She struggled to stand up with the support of two team officials, waving her arms to the crowd who was encouraging her.

"It really hurts, but happiness of success makes me feel much better, and even let me forget the pain," said a smiling Tesoriero.

"I can't remember clearly how I fell down. I was too happy for the result when I saw somebody (her mother) trying to give me a national flag of New Zealand," Tesoriero said of her crash.

She brought the first gold medal to her country at the Beijing Paralympics, which is also her first win in international competitions. Taking up cycling training four years ago, she was silver medalist of 500m time trial and tandem cycling in the 2007 World Championships.

"It's great to see your flag rising up between the other flags. It's really fantastic," Tesoriero said.

As a lawyer of her career, the unprofessional cyclist spent the whole year of 2007 preparing for the Paralympics. "I trained really really hard...I have been dreaming about this for more than 1,000 times. Everything goes according to the plan except the crash," said the smiling amputee.

When asked why she took up cycling, the 33-year-old said it added great self-confidence and inspiration to her to overcome difficulties of life. "Everyone has ups and downs. With endurance, courage and hard efforts, we can be our very best."

Source:Xinhua

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