Tredegar's silver Paralympic cycling star competes again today
TREDEGAR'S own Mark Colbourne will hopefully thrill the velodrome audience again today after he snapped up his first ever Paralympic medal.
Mark, a C1-classified cyclist, said he was "very proud" to win the first medal for GB when he took silver in the second-to-last ride of the individual 1km time trial on Thursday.
The 42-year-old, who broke his back in a paragliding accident three years ago, takes to the track again today at 3.45pm, in the C1 Men's 3km pursuit final.
Speaking afterwards, Colbourne, of Newport, South Wales, said: "It's very exciting. We have worked for the last 18 months towards this."
He thanked his coaches for getting him "into the best shape possible.
"Best wishes to Neil Smith [from Pontypool] for getting me back on a bike, albeit initially with stabilisers", he added.
Colbourne's proud mother, Margaret, 70, who watched alongside his 18-year-old daughter Jessica, fought back tears of joy as she spoke of her son's achievement.
She said: "I can't tell you how I feel, I'm just so very proud of him, I only wish his dad could have been here with him.
"We were just ecstatic and everyone was on their feet."
She added: "It's been incredible, the amount of support for the Paralympians, it's one of the biggest so far and we've just had such great support from everyone.
Jessica said: "It's such an amazing achievement and to watch him and be here and see him achieve that is just brilliant.
"It [the silver medal] will mean everything to him. It has only been three years since he broke his back - to come this far in such a short time is amazing.
"After his accident, going from being able-bodied and fighting back, his determination has been brilliant and he's only been cycling for 18 months."
Blaenau Gwent AM, Alun Davies said: "Mark, your fantastic achievement has proven again that our small nation is a Paralympic powerhouse.
"You’re an inspirational ambassador for disability sport in this country. Tredegar as indeed the rest of Wales and the UK are all poised on the edges of our seats to watch you shine at today’s event. Pob lwc (good luck).”
Blaenau Gwent County Councillor for Tredegar, Stephen Thomas said Mark's win was "superb".
He said: "It's a great achievement and great for the area to have that boost.
"My daughter reminded me about today's race before she left for work! I'd like to wish Mark the best of luck for later."
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said: "It’s brilliant that Mark was the first Paralympian to win a medal for us on day one of the games.
"Yet again the velodrome sports fans were cheering to the rafters. Mark is a great role model for young people throughout the country. His courage and endurance is remarkable and he’s an inspiring ambassador for sport.”
Send your congratulations and 'good luck' messages to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Castle Hotel on Castle Street in Tredegar is showing the race on a big screen at 3.45pm. If your pub, bar or hotel is showing the race, tweet us at @SouthWalesArgus.
You can also follow our live blog and use the hashtag #gomark. Our reporter Keiligh Baker will be watching the race, you can follow her tweets at @ArgusKBaker.
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