Great Britain's Jaco van Gass celebrates winning the Mens C4 4000m Pursuit final, during day two of the Manchester Paracycling International
Paralympics

Jaco Van Gass Wins Third Medal At Tokyo Paralympics

It was a third medal, and second gold, in three days – marking an exceptional Paralympics debut for the former Paratrooper.

Great Britain's Jaco van Gass celebrates winning the Mens C4 4000m Pursuit final, during day two of the Manchester Paracycling International

Afghanistan veteran Jaco Van Gass has won his third medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.

The former paratrooper was part of the British trio that overturned a final-lap deficit to top the podium in the mixed C1-5 event in a global-best time – ahead of world champions China.

The British Army veteran lost his left arm while serving with the Parachute Regiment in 2009.

However, he has recovered from a series of life-changing injuries to complete some astonishing challenges – including trekking to the North Pole, an expedition joined by Prince Harry.

And following the phenomenal sprint gold in Tokyo, Mr Van Gass joked that his teammates, Kadeena Cox and Jody Cundy, were better teammates than the Duke of Sussex. 

"He [Harry] is a good lad and very down to earth," he said. "I like a little team environment.

"They [Cox and Cundy] are both the best athletes in the world: to be part of a team with these guys is unbelievable.

"It actually brings a lot of pressure as well, we needed it to go right.

Watch: Former Paratrooper aiming for medals after Paralympics inclusion.

"To see the experience of Jody and that performance from Kadeena – that first lap in the qualifying she was just like a Formula One car, she just pulled off.

"I think it's the common interest of giving our best, being the best athlete and the best individuals that we are.

"And that came together as a team today," he added.

For Mr Van Gass, it was a third medal, and second gold, in three days – marking an exceptional Paralympics debut.

The trio, who were victorious by just over a tenth of a second from the Chinese, were confirmed as a team for the rapid 750m discipline following the 2020 world championships.

Training time since was severely limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, while they have come from diverse backgrounds to form a formidable crew.

Cox – who has multiple sclerosis – was born in Leeds to Jamaican parents, former soldier Van Gass left his home country of South Africa aged 20 to pursue a military career, and Games veteran Cundy hails from Cambridgeshire and had his deformed right foot amputated when he was three years old.

Cover image: Jaco van Gass wins men's C3 3000 metres individual pursuit at Tokyo Paralympics (Pictures: PA/Alamy).