PARALYMPICS: Tredegar hero Colbourne tells of battle with pain
CYCLING star Mark Colbourne has revealed that he pushed himself through the pain barrier to win a gold medal and two silvers at the London Paralympics.
The 42-year-old missed out on a fourth medal in the combined C1-2-3 men’s road race at Brands Hatch but he is now looking forward to a big party when he returns home to Tredegar.
Colbourne, who was left with lower leg paralysis after a paragliding accident three years ago, won gold and broke the world record in the C1 3km individual pursuit and took silver in the C1-2-3 time trial at the velodrome last week. And he added a second silver medal in the C1 road time trial on Wednesday but, as expected, he found the going tough in the road race.
The former Wales volleyball international finished 24th overall in a time of 1hr 53m 22secs on a course that didn’t suit his strengths.
“My poor old legs are shot to bits but it was a great day and a fantastic end to an amazing week,” he said.
“This kind of course is tough for me, even though I do a lot of road riding. I probably average 250 miles a week in training but at this kind of speed, with all the hills, it was too much for me.
“I could have got out of bed this morning and thought ‘I’m not up to it’ but you’ve only got to look at the crowd and the pain goes away.”
Pain is a constant companion for Colbourne but he has learned to deal with it and has enjoyed a dream debut Para-lympics.
Funded by the National Lottery, he will continue to train and compete for the next four years in the build up to the 2016 Games in Rio. “I trained for this for a long time,” he said. “I had to peak at the right time and the pursuit on the track is my strength so I was delighted to win that.
“In the time trial I got close and hopefully in Rio I can take gold.
“I’m only three years post-operative. Most people who’ve gone through what I’ve gone through are still in a rehabilitation stage. Maybe I’m just one of the people who can push the boundaries and deal with the pain, because there is still a lot of pain. I’m in pain every single day and I put up with it, but look what I’ve achieved this week.”
And now Colbourne is facing up to being a big celebrity in Tredegar where there is already a gold post box in his honour.
“One of my friends wanted to speak to the mayor to see if they could paint the clock gold in Tredegar. I hope they don’t – I’ll probably get the invoice!”