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Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 15:20 UK

Jackson gets taste for cycling gold

By Elizabeth Hudson
BBC Sport in Manchester

Simon Jackson and Barney Storey
Jackson (front) and Storey celebrate their gold medal in Manchester

After his double gold medal-winning cycling performance at the BT Paralympic World Cup, former judo star Simon Jackson believes this is only the start of his gold rush.

The Rochdale-based triple Paralympic gold medallist, who is visually impaired, switched to cycling last year after a serious back injury forced him to retire from judo.

He partnered pilot Barney Storey to tandem sprint and kilo gold in Manchester and says there is more improvement to come.

"We've only been training full-time for the last four months and I'm pleased with the progression so far - what might it be like after 18 months?" he told BBC Sport.

"We competed in the Paralympic Cup last year after just three weeks of training together and it took a world record ride from Anthony Kappes and Jon Norfolk to beat us.

"But we aren't in it for silvers. We want to get on there and win."


Jackson, 36, has always been known as a passionate competitor.

A gold medallist in his judo class in Seoul in 1988, he repeated the feat in Barcelona and Atlanta but his 163-bout winning run came to an end when he could only win bronze in Sydney.

In Athens in 2004 he lost his preliminary round match and so incensed was he at the referee's decision that he launched a sit-down protest.

After quitting judo, he narrowly missed out on selection for the British cycling squad for Beijing, and despite the success of the team, he admits that was a tough time for him.

"It murdered me not to be in Beijing, but I will never ever sit at home again when I have the opportunity to compete at a Paralympic Games," he admitted.

"It was horrible but I watched the judo and cycling on television and it killed me.

"I was born to be on this stage. I can be a nice lad but I am born to be a competitor and I love the pressure.

I'm now in the gold-medal club that is cycling and I think this has put me properly on the road to 2012

Simon Jackson

"I know how to put myself through the pain barrier and for some strange reason I like that pain and it's fantastic. That bike wants to hurt me and I want to hurt that bike

Jackson, who marries partner Sarah next week, is also full of praise for Storey, who won two Paralympic gold medals as pilot to Anthony Kappes in Beijing.

Kappes is now riding with former Olympic gold medallist Jason Queally, although they are unable to compete in Paralympic competition until 2010.

"I'm lucky to have the number one pilot in the world and in the sprint matches Barney can get through gaps that no one else could get through," said Jackson.

"As a tactician he knows everything and I put the power in when he tells me. It's a good job I'm quite brave because you can get close to the other sprint pair but I feel safe on the back of the tandem.

"After knocking a second off my previous best for the kilo in Manchester this week, I'm now 1.3 seconds behind the world record so that's got to be the aim as well as winning gold at the World Track Cycling Championships here in November.

"I was feeling left out because all of the other Paralympic cyclists who I train with in Manchester have got gold medals from major events and I only had a silver.

"At least I'm now in the gold-medal club that is cycling and I think this has put me properly on the road to 2012."

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see also
Record-breaking Cundy inspires GB
22 May 09 |  Disability Sport
Kenny secures double gold for GB
21 May 09 |  Disability Sport
Jackson claims European success
05 Apr 05 |  Disability Sport
Judo blow for Jackson
19 Sep 04 |  Disability Sport
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport

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