British cycling star Kiera Byland won a gold medal for Team GB in her opening race at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

The 20-year-old athlete was first across the finish line in the women’s 15-kilometer Road Race Final held at Yas Marina Circuit.

Kiera, who comes from the north-west of England, was delighted with her performance after completing the race in 24 minutes and 24 seconds.

The Team GB athlete saw off competition from Germany’s Heike Naujoks and Spain’s Elena Hernandez to seal the victory.

A delighted Kiera put her victory down to months of hard training and preparation ahead of the World Games.

“I said to my teammates ‘I hope I do really well in my first race’ and then, obviously, I’ve done really good,” said Kiera.

“I just hope I can continue this in my other races because I’ve done all the training and put the effort in with help from my coach and my family.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone back home for supporting me. I’m just so happy.”

Kiera, who was previously bullied throughout secondary school, joined the Special Olympics GB in 2014 and credits Special Olympics for changing her life forever. Her mother, Jacqui Byland, who was at the sidelines cheering her on, said: “I don’t know anyone’s lives that haven’t been enriched by Special Olympics.”

Kiera will next race in the 25km Road Race on March 18, followed by the 10km time trial on March 19. Both races will be held at Yas Marina Circuit.