By Gavin Caney, Sports Reporter
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Paralympic icon Jody Cundy has vowed to lay down a marker for London 2012 by blazing a golden trail at this weekend’s UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships.
The fastest Paralympic cyclist in history bagged two gold medals, two world records and a surprise silver at last year’s world championships in Italy.
The BBC East 2011 Disabled Sports Personality of the Year now hopes to retain his titles during the event in Los Angeles, USA, to send out a message that he means business ahead of his home Games later this year.
Cundy, 33, from Walpole St Andrew, near Wisbech, said: “The way I performed last year was amazing and I’m training as quick or quicker than I was racing then which means I’m going well. It’s given me added confidence.
“The plan is to retain my titles and maybe improve on last year’s silver in the 4km pursuit. I wasn’t a million miles away but I took it on by accident. How I perform in it is something of a mystery because I’m more suited physiologically to events like the 1km Time Trial (kilo) and Team Sprint.
“To go to London 2012 as the world champion still - especially in the kilo - would be a major boost.”
Cundy raced to a stunning silver medal on his 4km pursuit debut before winning the kilo at least year’s world event in Montichiari - smashing the world record in the process with a time of 1:05.144.
The inspirational athlete, awarded an MBE in 2009 for his services to disabled sport, sealed his most successful championships by joining Great Britain team-mates Darren Kenny and Terry Byrne to take gold in the Team Sprint in a world-record time of 49.540.
Rule changes means Byrne will be replaced by Sarah Storey in the Team Sprint during the four-day event, which starts on Thursday. Cundy begins his quest for glory in three disciplines on Friday.
He said: “There’s lots of new teams in the Team Sprint so it’ll be interesting to see how fast it is.
“It’s my only opportunity before London 2012 to show what I can do and earn more qualification points. It’s my last track event before the Olympics and I’m not doing any road races this year either.
“As soon as the calendar hit 2012 it all made the Olympics feel a lot more real. That excitement keeps growing because we’re already in February - January flew by. I can’t wait for the Olympics but the world championships will always be important and I want to put in a good performance.”
Cundy won 14 goals medals during a 10-year swimming career before taking up cycling. He is one of a handful of athletes to be Paralympic champion in two different sports.
He was awarded the freedom of Wisbech in 2010 in recognition of his remarkable journey from a disabled young boy, born with a deformed right foot which was amputated at the age of three, to athletic superstar.
The 33-year-old, one of 11 athletes to have been awarded a Sky Sports Scholarship to offer support and funding in the run up to London 2012, will learn if he has made Britain’s Paralympic squad in July.