Hyndman aims for podium at Paralympic Games

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Now that he has reached the Paralympics for the first time, Alex Hyndman’s new goal is to win a gold medal.

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Alex Hyndman is ready to take on the sweltering heat of Tokyo.

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The 30-year-old Blenheim is part of the Canadian Para-cycling team, which turned heads at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning nine medals.

“I notice that the runners are watching us a little more. They don’t exclude us when we show up at a World Cup or a World Championship. I’ve heard the coaches mention that some nations aren’t that friendly anymore, ”Hyndman said with a laugh.

Hyndman and first-time Paralympian colleague Joey Desjardins are joined on the Canadian men’s H3 handcycle team by two-time Rio bronze medalist Charles Moreau. All of them have won World Cup medals.

Hyndman doesn’t know how the competition sees his success.

“We walk into a group of runners and all of a sudden nobody can speak English,” he said with a smile. “It’s hard to say, but I imagine people are definitely on the prowl not just for me but for the three of us, of course.”

He is scheduled to compete in the Paralympic Time Trial on Monday at 7 p.m. ET and the road race on Wednesday at 1:20 a.m. ET.

Hyndman’s resume includes a bronze medal at a 2016 World Cup event in Spain and another bronze medal at the 2018 World Cup in Italy.

This is his eighth year in the national team. Putting on your Team Canada jersey is always as special as the first time.

“I am extremely honored to represent our country,” he said. “I’m honored to represent our country at a World Cup or at a world championship, so being able to represent it at the Paralympic Games is definitely going to be a huge moment in my life. Just to enjoy the experience and the joy of wearing the maple leaf on my chest is probably the most important thing to remember.

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Alex Hyndman, of Blenheim, Ont., Was part of the Canadian Paralympic team for the first time at the Tokyo 2021 Games (Jean Baptiste Benavent Photo / Cycling Canada)
Alex Hyndman, of Blenheim, Ont., Was part of the Canadian Paralympic team for the first time at the Tokyo 2021 Games (Jean Baptiste Benavent Photo / Cycling Canada)

Hyndman grew up playing travel hockey and even skated for the Blenheim Blades in the 2009-10 Junior C preseason.

He was left paralyzed from the stomach after a car crash just outside of Ridgetown on September 24, 2010. He was driving to work when he fell asleep and crashed. He was 19 years old.

He spent the next eight months in and out of hospitals. He was depressed for a long time and lost interest in sports.

When he started recumbent cycling in 2011, he just wanted to get out of the house and get in shape. But he fell in love with the sport.

He continued to get faster and stronger. In 2014, he was named to the national team.

“When I got into the sport and realized I could be competitive, the goal was always to attend the Paralympic Games or win a world championship,” said Hyndman.

Now that he’s at the Paralympic Games, he has a new goal: to win a gold medal. He is also considering the Paris 2024 Games and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

“I’ve always wanted to do Tokyo, gain experience and do extremely well in the next two. It has always been my hope, ”he said.

But he said there was no reason he couldn’t do well in Tokyo too.

“I’m going for a medal, but at the same time the experience is almost zero,” he said. “I guess it’s going to be a little different because COVID is putting the brakes on everything, so everything is going to be very different even from the next Games, I hope.

“They say the Games are overwhelming with everything – all other sports, all kinds of athletes out there – so it would be nice to put this one aside and then the next, you know what to expect. “

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The road race takes place on a 13.2 km course that begins and ends at Fuji International Speedway near Mount Fuji. Time trials, in which cyclists race alone against the clock, will also be on the speed track.

Hyndman is at his best in time trials. It was there that he won his World Cup and World Championship medals.

“They say if you don’t suffer from start to finish, you are hurting it,” he said. “There is literally no more gas from the start.

“I say ‘all the way’, but there is a lot to do. There are times when you need to push and times when you need to slow down. For me, I’m one of the bigger guys in the division so on the downhill I’m a lot faster than most guys, but… uphill is going to be my biggest problem.

He has the Tokyo class on his indoor cycling simulator, so he knows what to expect.

“There is a huge climb at the end and that’s our main goal, this final climb, because that’s where it’s going to be won or lost,” he said.

Hyndman left for Japan feeling good about his chances. The training went well.

“It was awesome. Absolutely incredible lately, ”he said. “I’ve hit a ton of personal bests. Having the support of not only family and friends but we did a fundraiser here … and seeing everyone from the Blenheim and Chatham-Kent community coming forward and showing their support just made it easier to train and push me to get this medal. “

Hyndman hasn’t competed for almost two years. His last event was the 2019 World Championships, where he placed sixth in the time trial and road race.

While the Europeans clashed, he faced off against Moreau and Desjardins when he was not at home to train on the roads of Rondeau and Erieau.

“The three of us are in the top 10 in the world, so we push each other enough to catch up, I would say. But, at the same time, there is no better training than running, so we really don’t know where we are, ”said Hyndman.

Alex Hyndman, of Blenheim, Ont., Was part of the Canadian Paralympic team for the first time at the Tokyo 2021 Games (Jean Baptiste Benavent Photo / Cycling Canada)
Alex Hyndman of Blenheim, Ont., First made the Canadian Paralympic team at the Tokyo Games in 2021. (Jean Baptiste Benavent Photo / Cycling Canada)

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