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City firm helps cyclist on his journey to Rio.

Byline: Jenny Waddington Business editor

A COVENTRY company is gearing up to help an injured ex-serviceman on his journey to the Paralympic Games in Rio.

The Wigley Group, based at Middlemarch Business Park, has pledged its support to cyclist Jaco van Gass.

As part of the sponsorship, the firm will buy a new bicycle for the athlete in the hope that it will help him to secure a spot in the GB Paralympic cycling team and compete in the 2016 Games in Brazil. Mr Van Gass, who left the army after suffering severe injuries whilst serving in Afghanistan, trains as part of the Paralympic development programme which aims to produce the next generation of champions.

The 27-year-old has also completed several gruelling expeditions including becoming the first South African to climb Mt Manaslu - the eighth tallest mountain in the Himalayas.

Mr Van Gass said: "I have always enjoyed cycling. Throughout my time in the army I totally forgot about the sport and it wasn't until I started tak-tak ing part in expeditions and trying to keep fit that I started cycling again.

"I was inspired by the London 2012 games and tried out at the 'Road to Rio' Paralympic testing days which is when I was selected for the cycling development programme. We were one of the first teams to take part in the programme where we have been able to further develop our bike handling skills and take part in competitions in preparation for the games.

"If selected, I will have to compete in at least two events and my strongest sports are probably the time-trial, the pursuit and the road.

"I have a hard journey ahead of me this winter with competitions and training and any marginal gains I can obtain by having more advanced equipment may help to boost my cycling times. Attracting support from Wigley is a really big deal and I am extremely grateful for their help.

"It is great to establish a "It is great to establish a relationship with companies that are interested in supporting your journey "and it is great to see that people want to help."

Rob Wigley, managing director at the Wigley Group, which is celebrating 50 years in business, added: "We first made contact with Jaco through contact with Jaco through the Afghan Trust which is our sponsored charity.

"It is really important that we inspire and invest " in the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic stars and as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we wanted to offer our support."


Jaco van |Gass with Rob Wigley ( Wigley Group) and (right) pictured with Prince Harry

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 13, 2014
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