Ostend has been the epicenter of the Para-cycling World Cup in recent days. Paralympic Team Belgium collected 12 medals, the highest number ever. In the tricycles world champion Tim Celen (24) was good for two times silver. The main goal in his cycling career? Paralympic gold.
Tim Celen won silver in the road race and bronze in the time trial at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The World Cup in Ostend was the first major event since the Paralympic Games.
Celen, who was born with paralysis on the right side of his body, was therefore able to show his rainbow jersey for the first time in his own country.
“Since I won the Para-cycling world championship in Portugal last year, it’s been fantastic to wear that world champion’s jersey every time,” says Celen.
“You have to enjoy that title every day. It was undeniably the most beautiful day of my life. An indescribable feeling.”
Getting used to new status
After Tim Celen became world champion, he topped it off with silver and bronze at the Paralympic Games. So ’20-’21 will be very difficult for him to match.
“I think I’m pretty sober about it,” he says. “It’s great that I’m world champion, but it doesn’t stop there. You keep focusing on the games to come.”
The motivation to confirm is great, but his status in the peloton has also changed in the meantime.
“It is a difficult year, because you are quickly pushed forward when work has to be done in the leading group. That takes some getting used to,” says Jasper Philipsen’s fellow villager.
“During the match, the Spaniard Reinosa Figuerola and the Colombian Betancourt Quiroga did not cooperate fully. This is of course not so nice and then I get some frustrations.”
“Keep training for the Paralympic title”
Thanks to his achievements, he has a top sport status at Sport Vlaanderen at the age of 24.
Tim Celen: “If you had told me a few years ago, I would hardly have believed you. I have been able to make para-cycling my work. Ideal”, Celen thinks.
“I think it is difficult for people to imagine how professionally every Paralympic cyclist is involved. It is really top sport.”
Tim Celen wins 2 silver medals in Ostend. This year he would like to extend his world title. Paris 2024 is already in the back of his mind. Paralympic gold is the only thing he is missing.
“That is a title that is missing. I certainly want to keep training for that and give the utmost of myself. I want to collect as many jerseys, trophies and medals as possible,” concludes Celen.