Jody in the record books with Paralympics silver
- Credit: PA
Wisbech-born Jody Cundy became the first man to win medals at seven separate Paralympics,
He won a Paralympic silver medal as he attempted to defend the C4-5 1,000 metres title he won in Rio.
The 42-year-old was beaten by Alfonso Cabello Llamas as the Spaniard set a new world record of one minute 1.557 seconds.
"I thought I'd be really disappointed with silver but I've just been beaten by the better man today," said Cundy.
"I pulled out a brilliant time but Alfonso was excellent. I did the best performance I can on the day, but when you're beaten by a performance like that you just have to take your hat off to him."
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Cundy has been competing at his seventh consecutive Paralympics this week bidding to add to his bulging haul of ten medals scooped since 1996.
He starred as a swimmer in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens before a decision to switch to cycling in 2006 saw the glory continue to flow.
Cundy powered to kilo gold in 2008 and 2016 but infamously hit the headlines at London 2012 for his heated televised outburst at being disqualified in front of a raucous home crowd.
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A Covid-ravaged, behind-closed-doors Games is a world away from that storied summer but Cundy has always insisted Britain’s para-cyclists have the tools to adapt in Mount Fuji’s stirring shadow.
Cundy, who was born in Wisbech and raised in Norfolk by parents Alan and Ann, said: “In terms of spectators, we’re fortunate in Paralympic sport in that a lot of our events don’t have massive crowds.
“It’s only the Paralympic Games every four years when we have the sell-out crowds. If it’s an empty velodrome then that’s not too dissimilar to some of the venues we’ve had in the past.
“It would be nice to have an atmosphere and it always brings the best out of athletes, but we’re probably going to be a lot more used to it than our Olympic counterparts were.
“It’s certainly going to be a strange one – certainly not with my mum and dad. They’ve pretty much been to every competition I’ve ever been to, so to know that they’re going to be sat at home watching it on Channel 4 is a bit crazy.
“That one thing that brings it home – when you look up to the crowd and it’s a familiar face up there with a little GB flag with my name on it. It’s something I’ve seen every time since I’ve been away so it’s going to be strange not having them there.
“But I know their support is going to be just as strong.”
The 17-time track cycling world champion claimed kilo and mixed team sprint gold on the Brazilian boards in 2016 – his sixth and seventh Paralympic gold medals to step two feet deeper into the gallery of Games greats.
Cundy, a 22-time World Championship medalist, will follow up his kilo exploits in the team event on Saturday and added: “It’s a little bit different this year as we don’t go in as defending team champions.
“It’s pretty surreal and when I started, I never thought I’d be here for a seventh Games. It helped changing sports – but four Games now in a second sport is something I never envisaged at the start.
“It’s pretty special but that honour of pulling on the GB jersey always feels just the same.”