Cundy composure proved key to Paralympic glory, says teammate
- Credit: Tim Goode/PA Wire/PA Images
One of Jody Cundy’s teammates who helped Great Britain to Paralympic gold believes the Wisbech man’s composure proved key to their success.
Jaco van Gass teamed up with para-cyclists Cundy and Kadeena Cox to overturn a final-lap deficit to claim gold in the mixed C1-5 team sprint event in Tokyo earlier this year.
“Jody obviously has a tonne of experience – while this was my first Games, and it really showed,” van Gass said.
“The qualifying went well but not as well as we planned, but Jody came in afterwards and said ‘you know what Jaco, don’t worry about it.’
“He put me in a good place and his experience came through more when it was really needed.”
Cundy became the first male athlete to win medals at seven successive Games and in two sports, having won silver and gold in Tokyo.
He teamed up with Cox and van Gass to win gold in a world record time against China at the Izu Velodrome, after the Chinese had previously set a world record in qualifying.
“The individual pursuit was the one I wanted to win for some time, but the ‘oh my god moment’ was definitely the team sprint,” van Gass said.
“The three of us and the coaches sat down and said ‘how do we go about going quicker and beating the Chinese?’
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“We came up with a plan and it obviously worked.”
China stopped the clock in a time of 48.051 seconds to leave the Brits with work to do.
But spearheaded by Cundy, the British trio turned the tables to return a world record time to stun the Chinese team.
And van Gass, who also won bronze in the individual time trial, admits everything falling together at the perfect time held the key to the team’s success.
“Every time we did train together it never clicked, but it just clicked for that one race and that one moment,” he added.
“When it mattered more than any time before, it all came together.
“We’d been chasing the Chinese for the last three years, and to beat them by the small margin we did was amazing.”
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