Paralympic champion vows to battle back to compete at elite level

Yesterday, the day of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the driver who ended the hopes of competing there of one of Britain’s Beijing gold medallists, Simon Richardson, was jailed for 18 months. Farmer Edward Adams, aged 60, was also banned from driving for five years, reports BBC News Wales.

Father-of-two Richardson, aged 44, spent several weeks in a coma after the hit-and-run incident near Bridgend last August, suffering multiple injuries including injuries include fractures of the spine and a broken pelvis and breast bone.

In a statement released after yesterday’s sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, he said: "I have some significant health issues to still overcome following the collision, including further back surgery and long term recovery where my complete effort must be.

"I fully intend to battle my way back to elite competitive sport when I am fully recuperated.

He added that his focus is “now all about moving on.

"My objective throughout the case was to ensure that other cyclists who may be severely injured in collisions in the future, have a legal precedent upon which to base prosecutions against dangerous drivers," he added.

Adams was sentenced to 15 months in jail for dangerous driving, with three months added for his failure to stop. He was also given a three month concurrent sentence for driving with excess alcohol.

At Adams’ trial the court heard how he had started drinking whisky at 6am on the morning of the incident and that he had attempted to conceal his van on his farm afterwards. It was found with the help of a police helicopter.

The prosecution also said that he could only partially read a number plate from a distance of two metres.

Sentencing Adams, Judge Daniel Williams told him: "You first got into the car at 8.45am that morning and when you were breathalysed just after midday you were more than twice the legal drink drive limit.

"Mr Richardson was clearly visible - cycling close to the kerb and wearing bright clothing.

"Your claims that you were affected by sneezing and sunlight were wholly untrue.

"Your reaction to the accident and its aftermath could not be in greater contrast with the man that you had left injured.

"You took the opportunity to leave the scene - knowing you had caused the accident."

The incident last August was the second time that Richardson had been seriously injured by a motorist while riding his bike.

In 2001, he was left with no feeling on the left-hand side of his body when he was struck by a car while taking part in a club run.

Doctors advised him to start cycling again as part of his rehabilitation and inside 12 months he was racing for Wales on an adapted bicycle powered by his right leg.

At Beijing in 2008, he won gold  in the LC 3–4 class kilo with a world record time of 1 minute 14.936 seconds and also won the LC3–4 3km individual pursuit, plus a silver medal in the LC3 class road time trial.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.