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Dublin: 19 °C Thursday 31 July, 2014

Paralympic silver medallist regains use of her legs

In a miraculous turn of events, Monique Van der Vorst began to feel tingling in her feet after another cyclist crashed into her. She can now walk, cycle and has been signed to a professional team.

van der Vorst stands in front of her wheelchair at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.
van der Vorst stands in front of her wheelchair at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam.
Image: BAS CZERWINSKI/AP/Press Association Images

MONIQUE VAN DER Vorst has won two silver medals in the handcycling event at the Paralympics but she has now set her sights on the able-bodied Olympic Games.

The Dutch cyclist regained the use of her legs after a freak training accident last year, the BBC reports and has now won a place on a professional women’s team.

Rabobank signed van der Vorst during the week, meaning she will line up against elite riders over the next year. Her main target though is the summer Olympic Games in 2016.

The 27-year-old was originally paralysed as a result of an ill-fated operation on her ankle during her teenage years. According to Sky News, she was introduced to handcycling during her rehabilitation.

In 2008, tragedy struck again and she suffered a spinal cord injury during a car accident after which she was paralysed from the waist down.

However, in the spring of 2010 she crashed into a fellow athlete during training. This time, something happened that set her old body in motion again. Feeling returned to her legs and she slowly began to learn how to walk again.

This shot shows Van der Vorst on her way to silver during the 2008 Paralympic Games in China. She says that all the training she did for the Paralympics has helped give her a good base and a decent tactical sense.

Rabobank’s team manager said the 27-year-old still has a lot to learn but that her team mates will learn as much from Monique.

“She has the right mentality and willpower which she has demonstrated through her career,” he said.

Van der Vorst is particularly excited to race alongside champion cyclist Marianne Vos.

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