Women’s Team Sprint Podium
We woke up today in a snow covered mornin in Minsk. The trainings prior the race started early at 9am and all the Countries were here with their very best exponents.
The first session began at 1pm while Sarah Hammer qualified 1st in the IP Australia did the same in the men’s TP and we were ready for the opening ceremony and the finals to begin at 6!
The opening ceremony was beautiful they put on an amazing show that was very worth watching until the presidents of belarus and later on the UCI did a very long speach ;)
We were all exciting to see some action and see medals taken, we were so excited that we didn’t mind all the security points that make us wait for hours to get insde the velodrome. But well what can we expect from Russia?
Anyway… the first event of the evening was the women’s team sprint, the German duo of Krystina Vogel and Miriam Welte; are the Olympic Champions but this is a post Olympic year and many riders can surprise us with their form.
Germany and China qualified to fight for Gold and Great Britain against the Aussies for the bronze.
In the men’s 1km Francois Pervis (France) was the fastest followed by Simon Van Velthooven and Joachim Eillers.
The programme was followed with the Women’s Individual Pursuit Finals, Sarah Hammer won in style lapping Amy Cure who secured second while Annet Edmondson was third.
The olympic champions didn’t disappoint, The German girls won the Team Sprint, China was second while Great Britain were third with their new line up.
And then the event everyone was waiting for, the men’s Team Pursuit. This intense competition between Great Britain and Australia that everyone talks about.
But it started with the race for bronze and Denmark came out to beat Spain to take the medal.
And Australia took gold and it felt like a revenge after the Olympic Games.
This is what happened on the first day of competition but there is way more to come!!
Mark on the podium celebrating gold
Mark Colbourne today set a new world record as he won his first ever Paralympic gold medal in the C1 Individual 3km Pursuit!
The Welshman punched the air with delight as he smashed the world record he set in the qualifying heat this morning and proudly waved a GB flag in the air on his lap of honour.
He beat China’s Li Zhang Yu with a time of 3:53:88 to follow the silver medal he won yesterday in the C1-2 1km time trial.
Speaking after the race, Mark explained “I’ve trained incredibly hard for this, and I’m just so pleased that I’ve got gold in front of a home crowd”
Mark broke his back in a paragliding accident in 2009, leaving him with lower leg paralysis and a difficult five months of physiotherapy to learn to walk again.
“It’s been a long three years working towards this and I’m thankful for all the help and support I’ve received. I just can’t believe that I’m here!”
New World Record – Mark Colbourne ( GBR ) – Men’s C1 3km Individual Pursuit Qualifying © Christina Kelkel
Mark Colbourne Breaks World Record and Qualifies for C1 Individual Pursuit Final!
Mark Colbourne has broken the C1 3k Individual Pursuit world record with a blistering time of 3.53.970 and will battle for gold with Zhang Yu Li of China in the final this evening!
Mark had a good clean start to the race and remained composed as he applied the pressure to Argentinian Rodrigo Fernando Lopez, gradually building his speed to lap Lopez at 1000m to go.
The current World Champion punched the air in delight as he crossed the finish line to a rapturous welcome from the crowd, and he’s looking stronger and more determined than ever to achieve his dream of Paralympic gold.
Speaking after the race, Mark said: “It was good, obviously this event suits my physiology I suppose, you know, the longer events.”
“Yesterday I was very proud to be the first medallist for Paralympic GB. However, this event is certainly more my bag really, so I’m looking forward to the final later on”
When asked whether he was surprised to break the world record by seven seconds, Mark explained: “No, not really. The schedule we had was just under four minutes and I think the crowd certainly helped me on. So a big thanks to the crowd.”
Para-Cycling Track at London 2012 Paralympic Games – Mark Colbourne 1k TT C1-2-3 © Christina Kelkel
Mark Colbourne wins Great Britain’s first Paralympic medal as he takes Silver in the 1Km Time Trial on Day 1 of London Paralympic Games!
Mark Colbourne has achieved what would have been thought impossible three years ago after breaking his back in a paragliding accident; winning a silver medal in the 1km Time Trial, setting a new personal best time and gaining Great Britain’s first medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games!
Mark was the penultimate rider to take to the boards for the C1-C3 1km time trial, and despite the pressure of it being his first Paralympic event he looked every inch the focussed, determined athlete ready to give it his all. He looked the epitome of calm as he took to the starting block and didn’t disappoint the crowd as he rode a very fast kilometre, finishing with a factored time of 1.08.471 in second place. Li Zhang Yu of China won gold with a C1 world record of 1.05.021.
Despite knowing he was guaranteed a place on the podium, he still had the nerve-wracking wait for final rider Rodrigo Fernandez Lopez from Argentina to race before he’d know whether he had won a silver or a bronze Paralympic medal on home soil.
Lopez started well but finished with a time of 1.10.689 seconds, confirming Mark’s hopes of securing his first ever Paralympic silver medal in front of a home crowd. His elation didn’t stop there, as shortly after finishing he was told he’d not only beaten his personal best time for the kilometre, but he had also won Great Britain’s first Paralympic medal of the games so far!
Speaking after his silver-medal win, Mark recalls how he felt after his paragliding accident in 2009, “I didn’t even know if I would ever walk again due to the damage that had been caused to my spine. It was a very slow and worrying time for me and my family”
“We have worked for the last eight months towards this and big thanks to all the coaches who got me in the best shape possible. I’m very happy”
The silver medal has certainly given him the belief that he can go for gold in C1 3k Pursuit tomorrow.
Silver; Mark Colbourne (GBR) – Gold; Li Zhang Yu (China)- Bronze; Tobias Graf (GER) – Men’s C1-2-3 1km Time Trial – TT © Christina Kelkel