Cycling: Mark Colbourne collects gold but furious Jody Cundy is disqualified

 

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The Independent Online

On a day of extraordinary emotion and drama that fluctuated from one rowdy extreme to another, Britain's Paralympic cyclists claimed five more medals. The only gold went to Mark Colbourne, the Welshman admirably maintaining his calm and carrying on just minutes after Jody Cundy erupted in fury in the middle of the Velodrome, railing against the officials for his controversial elimination.

Colbourne, who collected Britain's first medal of the Games on Thursday, swept to his first Paralympic gold in the C1 pursuit, doing so in world record time. It was the third time he has set such a mark in his three races in the Velodrome. There were also silver medals for Aileen McGlynn, Shaun McKeown, Jon-Allan Butterworth and a bronze for Darren Kenny, who for good measure earned it by reclaiming the world record he had lost yesterday morning.

Butterworth's silver came in the C4-5 kilo final, Cundy's event. He had ridden third from last and confessed afterwards that he had watched Cundy, the last to go, mount his bike expecting to collect a bronze once his team-mate was done.

"The way he has been going in training I reckon he would have probably won that," said Butterworth, his first Paralympic medal hanging around his neck. "I have been concentrating on the pursuit because I knew Jody would be hard to beat. We can only offer support. I can understand his reaction. Of course you are going to be angry – it's four years of hard work. If you're not angry you're not human."

Butterworth caused a stir of his own ahead of the Games, claiming that some of the other athletes in the British team were only here to "have a laugh." He subsequently apologised and yesterday said it was only meant to be "light-hearted banter."

It was five years ago while on active service in Basra in Iraq that Butterworth, who had previously been stationed in Afghanistan, lost his left arm after a rocket attack. He recovered at Headley Court, a rehabilitation centre for injured servicemen in Surrey where he was a patient at the same time as Derek Derenalagi, now a Paralympic discus thrower, and it was there that he was told about the talent identification schemes run by the British Paralympic Association. Within two years he had left the RAF to take up cycling full time and two years after that he was a world champion. Today he might become a Paralympic champion too as he goes in his main event, the pursuit.

That is an honour that now belongs to Colbourne, the 42-year-old Welshman know as "Uncle Bryn" by his team-mates after Rob Brydon's character in Gavin and Stacey. His story is worthy of a drama in itself. It was only three years ago that he broke his back in a para-gliding accident. A keen sportsman, he competed in triathlons and played volleyball for Wales, he wanted back in and chose cycling. When he first tried it out it was with stabilisers – yesterday he shattered the challenge of China's Li Zhang Yu, a gold winner on Thursday, to win gold.

"When you go through a life changing experience you have to deal with it the best you can. Eighteen months ago I told my dad what I wanted and he said 'are you sure this is the right thing to do?'," said Colbourne. His father died earlier this year but his mother, who has overcome her initial wariness of him taking up cycling, and 18-year-old daughter Jessica were in the Velodrome yesterday.

There were two medals for Britain in the C3 pursuit Kenny winning the ride off for bronze against the Australian David Nicholas. McKeown was beaten in the final by Joe Berenyi of the US.

Roll of honour: GB medals on day two

Gold (2)

Cycling: Men's individual pursuit C1: Mark Colbourne

Swimming: Women's 100m T34: Hannah Cockroft

Silver (8)

Cycling: Women's Individual 1km time trial B: Aileen McGlynn and pilot Helen Scott (pictured above).

Cycling: Men's Individual 1km time trial C4-5: Jon-Allan Butterworth .

Cycling: Men's individual pursuit C3: Shaun McKeown

Swimming: Men's 400m freestyle S8: Oliver Hynd

Swimming: Women's 400m freestyle S8: Heather Frederiksen

Swimming: Men's 100m backstroke S9: James Crisp

Swimming: Women's 100m backstroke S9: Steph Millward

Swimming: Men's 100m backstroke S14: Aaron Moores

Bronze (3)

Athletics: Men's F42/44 shot put: Aled Davies

Cycling: Men's individual pursuit C3: Darren Kenny.

Swimming: Men's 400m freestyle S8: Sam Hynd

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