Paralysed stunt cyclist Martyn Ashton talks of sport dream

Following weeks in hospital Martyn Ashton has set his sights on handcycling

A cyclist who broke his back during a stunt and is now paralysed from the waist down has spoken of his rapid recovery and his return to the sporting world.

Trial bike specialist Martyn Ashton, from Margam, near Port Talbot, fell from a 3m (10ft) high platform at the British Moto GP at Silverstone four months ago.

But following weeks in hospital, the 39-year-old has set his sights on handcycling - using a bike powered by hands rather than legs - and has already been training at Newport's velodrome.

Ashton described the moments after his fall.

"I landed and I felt the shock go through my body and I think immediately I knew it was very bad," he said.

"Because I knew it was serious I took a moment to speak to my son so that he knew Dad was alert and fine."

Ashton was immediately taken to hospital.

"I spent about an hour telling myself it would be ok," he recalled.

martyn ashton Ashton was determined to recover after the accident

"And then I had a really great moment once I got into the MRI scan, and in there that's where I believed myself.

"After that I thought, well let's get on with it then, it's changed, deal with it."

Ashton has been a well known figure in the trial bike world for the last 20 years and has released mini films of his stunts.

He was in the process of editing and releasing his second film when the accident happened but, with help from his friends, he finished it off from his hospital bed.

'Awesome but hard'

Days after being discharged, Ashton was determined to get back on his bike in some form.

"I made a bit of a pest of myself, emailed and phoned as many people in disability sports as I could in Disability Sport Wales and they've been really supportive," he said.

He has tried wheelchair-based tennis and basketball, but his biggest thrill was a spin around the velodrome.

"It was awesome but really hard", he said.

"I'm not used to having power in my arms, but it was brilliant."

Neil Smith, from Disability Sport Wales, said Ashton will need time to work out if he is ready for top class racing.

"I think he was nervous to begin with - he was only just out of hospital," he said.

"But once he'd got in it and did a few laps in it, it was like 'oh, this is not as hard as it looks'.

"It built his confidence."

Despite the devastating injuries, Ashton is determined to have fun and get on with the new chapter in his life.

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