Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Injured soldier closer to Rio dream

A FORMER soldier from Nettlebed who lost his arm in service is one step closer to his dream of competing in the 2016 Paralympics

A FORMER soldier from Nettlebed who lost his arm in service is one step closer to his dream of competing in the 2016 Paralympics.

Jaco van Gass has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Newport International Paracycling Cup later this month.

The three-day event counts as a qualifying event for track cycling at next year?s Games in Rio.

Mr van Gass is one of 11 cyclists who has been chosen to take part.

The 28-year-old former paratrooper was wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade during his second tour of Afghanistan in 2009.

He lost his left arm at the elbow and suffered broken bones and internal injuries, forcing him to undergo 11 operations.

Following an intensive rehabilitation programme he tried several sports before deciding to cycle at a competitive level.

He was discharged from the Army in 2012.


Last year Mr van Gass won two gold medals at the Invictus Games in the men?s cycling time trial and the circuit IRB2.

He then won another gold in the C1-5 mixed gender 200m flying lap at the British national track championships in Manchester.

In 2011 he trekked to the North Pole with Prince Harry as part of Walking with the Wounded, which raises money for injured service personnel.

He has also completed marathons and climbed Mount Manaslu in Nepal, the eighth highest mountain in the world.

Mr van Gass lives in Nettlebed with Sophie and Adrian Bignell and their three children, Tara, five, Pippa, three, and eight-month-old Sasha.

He is currently supported by the charity Help for Heroes.

Martin Colclough, head of the charity?s sports recovery programme, said: ?We?re extremely proud that Jaco has been named to compete at Newport.

?He is a fantastic example of what wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women can do post injury.?


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