Para-cyclist William Bjergfelt wants to be an “inspiration to others” as he bids to seal a spot at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo – five years after being involved in a horror crash.
A head-on collision with a car left the cyclist with bleeding on the brain and a severely damaged leg in September 2015.
There were fears Bjergfelt, who lives in Bristol, would never get back on a bike again.
But he refused to give up as he soon returned to competition and will head to Milton, Canada later this month for the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in late January with high hopes of securing his place at this summer’s Paralympics.
“I was hit head on by a car while I was out training,” said Bjergfelt when reflecting on the collision.
“It’s going to be huge if I can make it to the Paralympics this year.
“I want that to be an inspiration to others.”
Bjergfelt came away with a silver medal from last year’s Track World Championships at Apeldoorn, Netherlands, and is aiming to go one better this time around.
But the 41-year-old, who competes in the C5 classification for athletes with an upper limp deficiency, is expecting a fight to the finish as he travels with a 23-strong squad that he believes will all be gunning for glory.
He will also make the trip to Canada fuelled by the disappointment of missing out on a medal at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Emmen, Netherlands in September.
“I medalled in the scratch race at last year’s Track World Championships and I’m hopeful that I’ll medal in the pursuit this time,” Bjergfelt said.
“Hopefully I will stamp some authority in getting selected for Tokyo.
“As a nation there is a big focus on trying to make sure we get nine male spots so the whole team is looking to perform at a high level to try to maximise how many people go to Tokyo.
“It’s going to be really exciting to be a member of the British Cycling team performing at the highest level.
“Nothing is ever guaranteed but, from my understanding, a medal (in Canada) would put me in very good stead (for Paralympic selection).
“I was incredibly close to medalling in the Road World Championships with two fourth places and the time difference between me and a medal was very little.
“I am definitely multi-medal capable so it’s just a case of getting a medal (in the Track World Championships) and then there are potentially three medals that I will be going to Tokyo to try to collect.”
On top of competing on the road and track, Bjergfelt works full-time for GMK Aerospace and is a father of two.
“I have been working incredibly hard,” he added. At the moment I am at the end of a three-week block of really hard training.
“Just before Christmas I was away in Majorca with British Cycling for a training camp which went really well and it was nice to come home and have some time with the family.
“I have a very understanding wife and immediate family around me that help out, so I am very lucky.
“They are excited about a holiday this year – all being well!
“We have not had a family holiday for a while as everything has been focused on World Cups, World Champs and all the racing that I have had to do.”
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