Video: ‘I’ve wasted four years of my life:’ Fury as controversy robs Norfolk’s Jody Cundy of chance to defend Paralympic crown
PUBLISHED: 16:38 31 August 2012 | UPDATED: 16:57 31 August 2012
Norfolk’s Jody Cundy erupted with fury this afternoon after he was denied the chance of defending his men’s 1km Time Trial (kilo) title at the Paralympic Games.
A furious Cundy protested angrily as boos rang around the Velodrome following the decision to deny the Paralympic idol a restart in the men’s C4/5 event.
The Norfolk sporting hero, going for his sixth Paralympic gold, had a problem as he slipped while leaving the starting gate. But officials decided his faulty start was his error rather than a problem with the starting equipment.
The heartbroken swimmer-turned-cyclist from Walpole St Andrew, near King’s Lynn, had to be held back amid extraordinary scenes in London.
The 33-year-old, unbeaten in the kilo since 2006 and the event’s world record holder, was taken to the bowels of the Velodrome to calm down, but was heard ranting at British team officials.
He said: “I fell out of the gate because it didn’t open. I’ve wasted four years of my life to ride in front of 6,000 people.
“Do you know what it’s like to dedicate four years of your life. I can’t even express it. I’ll never ever get this opportunity again, never, ever. What am I supposed to do now?”
The Paralympic idol, who won three golds in the pool before taking up cycling, was marked as ‘did not finish’. Spaniard Alfonso Cabello - whose team were thought to have complained to the commissaires about Cundy’s start - took the gold with the 33-year-old’s Great Britain team-mate Jon-Allan Butterworth taking silver.
The Norfolk star’s coach Chris Furber said: “During the countdown I felt the gate didn’t release right.
“I would count that as a mishap. In the mishap the rules require a restart, but the decision lies with the commissaires panel.
“On inspection the gate commissaire said that the gate was fine, the start commissaire said the gate release was fine, so the chief commissaire ruled there was no mishap.
“We spoke to the UCI, we asked them to review the TV footage, they ruled the TV evidence would be inadmissible.
“I tried to argue with them. I told Jody and naturally Jody’s reaction was as you saw.”
It was the third time a rider had encountered starting difficulties on the track today but the two other riders were allowed a re-start.
Cundy, a lower leg amputee, will have a final chance for home Games glory in the 4km Pursuit tomorrow, but will not feature in Sunday’s Team Sprint as rule changes resulted in him being left out of TeamGB’s three-man team.
Giles Long, presenter of the Games on Channel Four, said on Twitter: “What a total swizz. Jody Cundy was robbed big time.
“I am currently swearing very very loudly in my room and using the kind of words that C4 advise against using on twitter. Poor Jody. Gutted.”