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Women in Sport: Para-cyclist Richael Timothy

Women in Sport: Para-cyclist Richael Timothy


by Sarah Gill
10th Jun 2024

In this instalment of our Women in Sport series, we chat to Richael Timothy on everything from her earliest sporting memories to her greatest goals and proudest achievements.

An accomplished sportsperson, Richael has represented Roscommon in Gaelic football and country in international soccer at U15 and U17 level, playing alongside current Irish senior captain Katie McCabe. Her football career ended following an acquired brain injury, caused by treatment for a rare condition known as HHT (Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia) which affects veins and arteries. It left her with just 30 per cent power in her left leg.

Later, Richael took up cycling and made her Irish debut in 2017, winning her first international medal at the Manchester Para-Cycling International in December 2019. She has represented Ireland at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, securing a personal best and her sights are now firmly on Paris 2024. Richael is also a qualified Sports Science and Exercise Physiologist.

Richael Timothy is a Nestlé Cereals Ireland Ambassador, the official ‘Breakfast Partner’ of the 2024 Irish Paralympic Team.

Here, she shares her sporting journey so far…

Richael Timothy

Name: Richael Timothy

Profession: Para-cyclist

Earliest sporting memory?

Playing with my brother at the under-ten Oran GAA tournament. Watching when my mother brought me to see Galway Ladies play Mayo in Hyde Park. I cried when Cora Staunton scored, Gillian Joyce got taken off and Galway lost!

How did you become involved in your sport?

From a young age I was brought to every sport – football, soccer, basketball, dancing. I followed my older brother to soccer and Gaelic football from under-six upwards.

What message would you like to share with young women and girls interested in pursuing a career as an athlete?

You can be whatever you want to be – let no one tell you that you can’t! It is actually a possibility now. If you look at any sport there are just as many opportunities for girls now.

Proudest moment so far?

When my daughter was born. In sport, representing my country in the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

The female athlete I admire most is?

Niamh Fahey, former Galway footballer, current Liverpool FC and Ireland international. I admire her because when she started being a full-time athlete, it wasn’t possible for girls and she’s still there now playing at the very top level for her club and country.

Favourite sporting memory?

Watching Galway Ladies win the All-Ireland final in Croke Park in 2005.

Do you think there is still a stigma around women in sport?

Yes, I believe people will always compare men and women in sport and say women aren’t as strong, quick, talented etc, but times are changing and women in sport are getting more publicity which is allowing more young girls to take part and not drop out of sport.

What is the biggest barrier to driving visibility in women’s sports?

TV coverage. It’s simple – if you can’t see it, you can’t be it!

The biggest stigma/misconception that exists in women’s sport is…

That athletes take part in sport because they like it and not because they can make a living from it.

If I wasn’t an athlete, I would be…

In the army or the guards.

My favourite pre-competition meal is?

Porridge always!

My pre-competition playlist includes?

Old school bangers and of course The Saw Doctors!

My daily routine is…

Eat, train, eat, nap, train, eat, Lucie’s bedtime routine, watch Netflix, sleep!

My biggest sporting goal is…

To always know I did everything I could to perform at my best. Medals aren’t everything. Being better than I was the last time is! And of course, Paris 2024 is the goal.

Sports brands I love (Irish or otherwise)…

Any trend in shoes! What shoes people wear is everything! I also love Jordan, Gym+Coffee and Rewired.

Biggest splurge to celebrate a win?

Testing out some great coffee and treats with my girls.

How do you mind your mental health?

I spend time doing nothing and not thinking about the bike, and getting outdoors!

My three desert island beauty products are…

SPF, dry shampoo, lip balm.

I need 10 hours of sleep a night because…

Sleeping is recovery plus my brain injury means sleep is essential.

Confidence, to me, is…

Doing whatever you want regardless of everyone’s opinion! Also wear whatever you want, not what people tell you you should!

How do you get over a bad performance?

Learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again.

Lastly, why is sport such an integral part of the community on a club, local, national and personal level?

Most athletes don’t compete for themselves. For me I train so I can race fast to make my family who have stood by me from day one proud; my club who introduced me to sport; my community to show kids with or without a disability you can make a living from sport. In general, representing your county and country in sport shows sacrifice, hard work and determination and also shows kids that they can do it too!

Richael Timothy is a Nestlé Cereals Ireland Ambassador. Nestlé Cereals Ireland is the official ‘Breakfast Partner’ of the 2024 Irish Paralympic Team. The aim of the partnership is to encourage the nation to “Bring the Cheer” and support the team at the upcoming games in Paris.

To celebrate this partnership, the new promotional packs feature Nestlé Cereals Ireland Ambassadors para-table tennis champion Colin Judge and para-cyclist Richael Timothy, offering fans the opportunity to win a chance to ‘Bring the Cheer’ and support the athletes at the Games in Paris. In a first for the brand, boxes will also carry a message of support to the team as Gaeilge. Packs are available in-store now.