Paralympic gold medallist Mark Colbourne a 'great role model'
Cyclist Mark Colbourne has been hailed a "great role model" after he set a new world record to win Wales' first gold medal at the Paralympic Games.
Colbourne, 42, who won silver in the C1-2-3 time trial on Thursday, claimed gold in the C1 3km individual pursuit.
The cyclist, from Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, was congratulated by his MP Nick Smith and Disability Sport Wales.
Colbourne said he "never dreamed" of his success.
He was badly injured in the Gower, Swansea, in a paragliding accident in May 2009.
He was left with a broken back and lower leg paralysis after his paraglider fell to the ground from around 40ft (12m).
The cyclist then underwent five months of gruelling physiotherapy just to learn to walk again.
End Quote Nick Smith Blaenau Gwent MP
His courage and endurance is remarkable and he's an inspiring ambassador for sport”
It is Colbourne's first Paralympic Games and he is already his sport's world champion.
Speaking in the velodrome following his win he said he never imagined that he would be able to compete at the top level.
"Obviously it took me 12 months to almost get over the severity of my accident," he said.
"The day that I actually got back onto a bicycle, I would have never dreamed that I would have been here today representing Paralympics GB, winning a gold medal in the 30th Olympiad in London.
"It's almost as it's been written for me."
His gold medal success has been welcomed by a number of leading officials.
His local Labour MP Nick Smith said: "It's brilliant that Mark Colbourne, from Tredegar, was the first Paralympian to win a medal for us on day one of the games.
"Day two and he's got gold and a new world record - it's truly outstanding. 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."'Fantastic achievement'
Jon Morgan, the chief executive of Disability Sport Wales, said Colbourne had put in an amazing performance to win gold.
"In his first Paralympic Games he won Paralympics GB's first medal of the Games on day one, and breaks a world record and wins gold on day two. What can I say - a fantastic achievement," Mr Morgan said.
"He is such a down to earth person always looking to improve and learn and he's a joy to work with and follow.
"In such a short space of time since he came into the sport he's become world champion and now reached the top of the Paralympics."
Professor Laura McAllister, chair of Sport Wales, said Colbourne was an inspiration to other athletes and the public because of his determination, but most of all because of his talent.
She added: "Winning two medals at this level of sport is some achievement and everyone involved in sport in Wales is so proud of Mark."
With Colbourne's gold Wales has won four medals so far at the Paralympics.