SHAW cyclist Matt Walls has topped off the best year of his career with recognition in the 2022 New Year Honours list.
The former St Joseph’s RC and Crompton House School pupil has become a Member of the British Empire (MBE) following a double triumph at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Walls, 23, marked his Olympics debut by winning gold in the gruelling four-event Omnium, following up by partnering Ethan Hayter in the Madison.
His Olympic triumph was the first ever in the Omnium by a British male and came five months after his Games’ preparations was interrupted by Covid.
“I was doing a race in Belgium at the time,” he recalled. “So, I had to isolate, come home, get checked and I ended up having three weeks off the bike in total.
“I then slowly got back into training but there was the concern of the long-term effects as well. Luckily, I was okay and then back to training and it all worked out.”
Walls’ success in Japan had already been recognised in his home town with Oldham councillors making him a freeman of the borough.
He didn’t compete at the Track World Championships in October when Hayter rode to Omnium gold.
However, Walls is one of 12 members of the Manchester based GB Cycling set-up to receive recognition in the Honours List including husband and wife team, Jason and Laura Kenny.
The pair’s Olympic performances saw them become Britain’s most decorated Olympian and most successful female Olympian respectively. They have now been confirmed as Sir Jason and Dame Laura.
British Cycling Chair, Frank Slevin, said: “We know that by continuing to offer welcoming and accessible opportunities and facilities for people to get on their bike, and the support they need to fulfil their talent, we can play our part in developing the champions of tomorrow and inspiring millions more to discover the joy of our sport.”
Walls was just nine when he took part in a track taster session at the National Cycling Centre at Sportcity.