'Some of the best in the world, right here in Huntsville:' Paralympic Cycling Open starts racing

Most of the athletes competing are hoping their final destination is the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Posted: Apr 17, 2021 11:45 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2021 8:55 AM

The Paralympic Cycling Open is underway at Cummings Research Park. Athletes from around the country competed Saturday to earn their personal best time. On Sunday, the road races begin. 

One athlete didn't have to travel too far. Jennifer Schuble lives in Homewood, Alabama. She is a three-time paralympian. 

"I joke this is my hometown, home state advantage," said Schuble. 

All day North Alabamian's showed their support for the athletes. Lee Thornton, a Huntsville resident, said it's special to watch these athletes compete. 

"As a former cyclist, or current cyclist myself, I know how hard it is to come out and do this," said Thornton. "Without any impairments, and the fact that they come out here and are doing what they’re doing is just incredible." 

Huntsville residents, Garrett and Loni Eledui, said an event this large puts their hometown on the map. 

"Some of the best in the world, right here in Huntsville," said Garrett. 

On Sunday, the excitment continues, for both the athletes and the spectators. 

Schuble said she's hoping to qualify for Belgium. Belgium is the next location for qualifying para-cyclists to compete. Qualifying  athletes have a few pit stops before making their way to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

"People out here are Tokyo hopefuls, so this is one of our first steps to making it to Tokyo, and hopefully I punched my ticket to Belgium," said Schuble. 

This is Schuble's come back year. In 2019, Schuble was in a car accident just days before the world championships. 

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