Friend applauds Tredegar Paralympian's Gold Medal winning achievement
AN emotional Damien Jenkins hailed his best friend Mark Colbourne’s gold medal winning performance as unbelievable and hailed the Tredegar Paralympian as "a machine".
Mr Jenkins said he was "still trying to scrape myself off the ceiling," after his pal of more than 35 years blitzed another world record as he claimed gold for Great Britain in the 3km Men’s pursuit final at the Paralympic Games.
Mr Jenkins, 39, has been friends with the new King of the Velodrome since they attended Tredegar Comprehensive school together where Mark was a couple of year’s older.
So he has seen the now double Paralympic medalist through his darkest days, following Mr Colbourne’s accident while paragliding in Rhossili in 2009, in which he broke his back and now only his quads and hip flexes of his muscles in his legs still work.
"Just to see where he was, how strong he was as an able bodied man and then to just see him lying their in hospital for weeks and weeks it was very hard.
"He was so positive and so determined though, but to see where he is today, doing what he just did is unbelievable."
Mr Jenkins said he was kicking himself having been offered a ticket by Mr Colbourne to be there but had been unable to go because of his work at Cardiff Audi.
Instead he said he had shouted his friend all the way round.
"When his mouth was gaping I was worried he might be tired having given it so much in the heat (where Colbourne also broke the world record) but he’s so strong, honestly when I’ve been out riding with him at home when I’ve wanted to get off on a hill he’s put his hand on my back and pushed me up while he’s cycling. He’s a machine."
While he couldn’t be there in person Mr Jenkins is looking forward to celebrating his friend’s return.
"I will try and give him a call when he gets his phone back, I’m not sure what the I will say but it will be a battle not to cry.
It is going to go off when he gets back to Tredegar! I will try and buy him a pint but knowing Mark he is so professional he will probably have a protein shake! I’m very proud."