By Nick Butler

London 2012 champion Kieran Modra will lead the Australian qualification charge for the sports Commonwealth Games debut ©Getty ImagesDecember 18 - Australia's tandem Para-cyclists will begin their qualification process for next year's Commonwealth Games at this week's Para-cycling Track National Championships in Melbourne.

With the Commonwealth Games featuring sprinting and time trial tandem Para-cycling events for the first time in Glasgow, riders will be competing for an opportunity to compete alongside some of the world's leading able-bodied athletes.

Held at the Darebin International Sports Centre, this week's National Championships marks the beginning of Australia's qualification process and will consist of individual and tandem time trials and individual and tandem pursuits, as well as tandem sprint competitions. 

Leading the way will be one of the sports biggest stars, Kieran Modra, winner of five Paralympic gold medals from seven appearances, including a memorable return from a career threatening crash to triumph at London 2012.

The 41-year-old veteran has switched from pursuit to sprinting events since London and will be piloted by the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jason Niblett.

"I have been pursuiting for three Games and although I have done really well in all of then, I felt I needed something to spice up the sport a little bit," he said

"We are chasing qualifying times for Glasgow, but the qualifying times are very, very fast, so I think we will be doing well to qualify.

"Hopefully that time would most likely win the event as well."

Other gold medal winning members of the Australian team will be competing in Melbourne including Felicity Johnson, who will be alongside new partner Holly Takos in the time trial category.

Three other champions in the form of David Nicholas, Michael Gallagher, and Sue Powell will also be on the start line in individual events, as the three day National Championships gets underway tomorrow.

Australia won a total of six gold medals at London 2012 and will resume a rivalry in Glasgow with the British riders, competing for various Home Nations, who led the way on their home track last year with eight victories.