Cundy des­per­ate to make up for his Lon­don dis­ap­point­ment

Rio Par­a­lympics - Jody still go­ing strong ahead of his sixth Games

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport - By Bob French bob.french@jpress.co.uk

His ex­ple­tive-laden rant at Lon­don 2012 was a sem­i­nal mo­ment for Par­a­lympic sport - and it will weigh on Jody Cundy’s mind when he takes to the start line in Rio. The 37 year-old’s emo­tional out­burst af­ter be­ing de­nied a restart in the one-kilo­me­tre cy­cling time-trial hehad­dom­i­nated be­fore - and has done since - Lon­don 2012 al­lowed the view­ing pub­lic to see Par­a­lympians in a dif­fer­ent light.

“Oc­ca­sion­ally I think about it and it makes me angry again,” said Cundy from Wis­bech.

“But I think it was ac­tu­ally a re­ally good thing for Par­a­lympic­sport. It feels like I took one­for­thetea­mandthe­w­hole move­ment.

“Prior to that, peo­ple saw that we turned up, we raced and some­times we got a medal.

“For some rea­son my out­burst and dis­ap­point­ment high­lighted we’re not just ro­bots that turn up and race.

“I like to think that is the positive that came­out­ofwhat was oth­er­wise a very dark day for me re­ally.”

Cundy, who is a lower leg am­putee, is a for­mer swim­mer who won gold on the bike at the 2008 Games in Bei­jing.

He was favourite for gold in Lon­don, but was ruled not to have fin­ished his race due to a trou­ble­some start. Offi- cials re­ject­ed­his­pleast­hatthe start gate did not open.

As soon as his Lon­don dis­ap­point­ment hap­pened, he turned his at­ten­tion to four more years and Rio. But the frus­tra­tion lingers.

“It al­ways is on my mind now on the start line,” he added. “But I’m more aware, it’s some­thing I fo­cus on now, so there might be a split sec­ond where I’m not up to speed out of the gate but as soon as it opens I’m on au­to­matic pilot and away we go.

“It haskept­firein­my­belly. I had good mo­men­tum at that point.

“I won ( world ti­tles) in 2006, 2007, the Par­a­lympics in 2008, and con­tin­ued win­ning. I was un­beaten in that event up un­til that point.

“I don’t class it as be­ing beaten be­cause I didn’t get to race my race.

“But I haven’t been beaten since ei­ther, I won the World Cham­pi­onships in 2014, 2015 and 2016, so it’s just a dot on my clean record. That frus­trates me a bit.

“The dis­ap­point­ment of Lon­don will al­ways be there be­cause it’s the only time I could ever win a home na­tion Par­a­lympic gold medal.

“I’ve wonPar­a­lympic­golds in the past and hope­fully will win some more in the fu­ture, but­there­wa­son­lytha­to­neop­por­tu­ni­tytodoiton­home­soil. That’sthere­a­sonit’ssosadand dis­ap­point­ing.”

Cundy­know­shewil­l­be­ex­pect­edto pro­duceonSeptem­ber 9 af­ter his melt­down four years ear­lier.

“There’s less pres­sure in Rio than Lon­don, but I sort of feel there is more pres­sure on me,” Cundy added.

“Af­ter what hap­pened in Lon­don I said I was go­ing to win in Rio and now peo­ple want to see if I go and do it.”

Cundy­won­three­Par­a­lympic golds as a swim­mer (one in At­lanta and two in Syd­ney) and two in Bei­jing as a cy­clist. He is one of only a hand­ful of ath­letesthathave­be­comePar­a­lympic cham­pion in two dif­fer­ent sports.

In 2009, he was made an MBE for his ser­vices to dis­abil­ity sport.

Cundy com­petes in the 1kmTimeTri­alonSeptem­ber 9 and the mixed Team Sprint on Septem­ber 11. Foot­baller Ryan Kay will make­hisPar­a­lympicde­but in Rio, buthe­is­nos­tranger to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

The 23 year-old goal­keeper from Stan­ground helped the Eng­land sev­ena-side team se­cure their high­est ever World Cham­pi­onship fin­ish of fifth in 2015.

Be­fore fly­ing off to Rio he said: “It’s a huge hon­our to be se­lected for the Par­a­lympics and I’d like to thank ev­ery­one for all of their sup­port in the buildup. It means the world to me and the team.”

Kay started play­ing foot­ball when he was six years-old with Park Farm, which at the time was his dad’s club.

He stayed at Park Farm un­til he was 14 when the team dis­banded. He then went for a trial at the East Mid­lands Cere­bral Palsy Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Not­ting­ham and later down the line was picked for the Eng­land De­vel­op­ment team. Af­ter one match he was pro­moted to the se­nior team.

Kay is spon­sored by lo­cal es­tate agents Shar­man Quin­ney.

All team­sinPar­a­lympic seven-a-side foot­ball are made up of cere­bral palsy suf­fer­ers. There are eight of them and Team GB have been grouped with two of the favourites - Brazil and Ukraine. Their open­ing game is against Brazil on Septem­ber 8.

Jody Cundy lets off steam af­ter his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion at the Lon­don Par­a­lympics.

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