FENLAND: Paralympian Jody Cundy talks about his career at club meeting
WISBECH played host last night to one of its most famous sons – paralympian Jody Cundy – less than 36 hours after he had received his MBE from The Queen. Not only did the 30-year-old, Fenland-born-and-bred athlete show off his newly-acquired honour, but h
WISBECH played host last night to one of its most famous sons - paralympian Jody Cundy - less than 36 hours after he had received his MBE from The Queen.
Not only did the 30-year-old, Fenland-born-and-bred athlete show off his newly-acquired honour, but he also had on display the gold medals he won at last year's Paralympic Games in Beijing.
In a 60-minute talk to members of Wisbech Business and Professional Men's Club at Mendis, Jody relived a career that has twice taken him to the height of international athletics.
Firstly, he described the events that led to international success in swimming and then he went on to describe the moment he changed tack and took up competitive cycling.
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He told guests of the operation as a youngster to amputate a leg after being born with defective toes and how he overcame the disability to forge a successful career in international sport.
Jody, who grew up living in Walpole St Andrew, told of the moment he learnt to swim and of nearly drowning on his first encounter with water at Wisbech Swimming Pool, when no one realised his lack of a leg would mean he toppled to one side upon hitting the water with the swimming aids attached to him.
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"It was a baptism of fire in some ways but I never looked back," he said.
He also learnt, very quickly, how to swim properly and spoke of competing at the highest levels both in Olympic disciplines and international competitions.
Jody, educated at Marshland High School in West Walton, is now training in Manchester and sharing the use of the velodrome with some of the country's other top cyclists, both abled and disabled.
Jody described his thrill at meeting the Queen on Tuesday to receive his MBE: it was their second meeting in under a fortnight, after she had hosted a reception for Olympic athletes.
The young athlete, who also visited Thomas Clarkson Community College during his stop over, is today flying out to Majorca to undergo further training.
David Hodgson, the club chairman, said it had been a privilege and honour to welcome Jody. In the five years he had been involved in organising speakers the visit and talk by Jody was one of, if not the, highlight.
The club presented Jody with a cheque for �250, for the Limbless Association.