We chat with cyclist and adventurer Jaco van Gass about where his Paralympic dreams started, what training is like now and his go-to snack.

1) What does being part of the ParalympicsGB team mean to you?

It’s a great honour to be part of the ParalympicsGB team and to represent the country in a different capacity than my military background. This is also a great opportunity to showcase that your circumstances in life and facing adversity doesn’t define you. I hope that I can make the nation proud at Tokyo 2020.

2) What inspired you to get involved in Paralympic sport?

I was inspired by the London 2012 Paralympic Games. At the time I lived in London and had the opportunity to be a spectator at some of the events. The atmosphere, the crowd and the sheer inspiration from the Paralympic athletes had a huge impact on me and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I hope that in Tokyo, we can inspire more people to take part in the future Paralympic Games.

3) If you weren’t a cyclist what other sport would you want to compete in at The Paralympic Games?

For a Summer Games, I would say rowing. For a Winter Paralympics, I think Biathlon!

4) You’re back training for Tokyo 2020, how is your training environment different to before Covid-19?

It was hard at first to comprehend that the Games might not go ahead this year and I continued my training as normal, at a high intensity. Once it sunk in that it wouldn’t be this year, I realised that there is still some time before the next Games and I adjusted my training accordingly. I took this opportunity for a bit of rest and spending some quality time with my fiancé.

The biggest change is the cancellation in most/all events this year. So currently, we are training for training sake and not for a specific event.

5) How easy was it to get back to training? How have you motivated yourself?

I haven’t ever fully stopped training, so I haven’t found it difficult to get back to the regular routine. I found motivation and joy by riding a variety of bikes (track/road/off road). This helped to mix things up and keep training exciting.

6) What’s your favourite post training snack?

Crumpets with Nutella and banana on top!!

7) You’ve done a lot of adventures from trekking the North Pole to attempting Everest, do you have other challenges on your bucket list?

Yes! I would love to trek to the South Pole, make a second attempt of Everest and come up with some crazy/fun cycling challenges too!

8) Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, how does the public support help you to perform at your best?

The support from the public means a huge amount, knowing that they will be watching, cheering and spurring us on will help to lay it all out on the line on race day.

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