KATIE-GEORGE DUNLEVY has been announced as the 2019 Outstanding Contribution to Sport award winner ahead of The Irish Post Awards this week.
The Irish sportsperson will be honoured on the night when live coverage of the Awards kicks off on TG4 this Thursday, November 14 at 9.30pm.
Sporting star Katie-George Dunlevy is an English-born Irish Paralympic cyclist competing in tandem events for Ireland.
Formerly a rower competing for Great Britain, she has been part of the Irish paracycling team since 2011.
It was at the age of 11 that Katie, who was born and raised in Crawley although her roots lie in Donegal, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a chronic hereditary eye disease which causes abnormalities of the retina leading to progressive vision loss.
Finding mainstream school difficult she changed school, quickly got involved in sports and found that she had a natural ability.
As a teenager, Katie won national swimming and athletics competitions and competed at the International Blind Sports Associations European Athletics Championships, where she won bronze in the 400m at the age of 17.
She was noticed in the world of rowing and was fast tracked into the Great Britain team.
Now 37, the sportswoman competed for seven years in rowing, becoming World Champion for Great Britain in 2004 and again in 2005, before being approached by the head coach of para cycling in Ireland and urged to give it a try.
Katie was convinced to go to Dublin and meet with the coach for fitness testing. Three weeks later she was asked to represent Ireland at the Road World Championships, where fell in love with the sport.
Following that she left rowing behind and focused on her goal of cycling in the Paralympics.
In 2016 she won gold and silver for Ireland in the Rio Paralympics, competing with her pilot Eve McCrystal.
She went on to become double World Champion at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in September 2017 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
A year later in 2018 in Maniago, Italy she retained both titles becoming double World Champion again.
In September this year the cycling she and McCrystal collected an impressive gold and silver at the UCI Paracycling World Road Championships in the Netherlands.
Now their attention is firmly fixed on the Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020.
Tune into The Irish Post Awards 2019 this Thursday, November 14 at 9.30pm LIVE on TG4!