Chapel-born cyclist storms to third Paralympic career gold

Anthony Kappes. Photo: onEdition.
Anthony Kappes. Photo: onEdition.

CHAPEL-EN-LE-FRITH-BORN cyclist Anthony Kappes struck gold for the third time in his Paralympic career by successfully defending his tandem sprint title.

Kappes and his sighted pilot Craig Maclean beat ParalympicGB team-mates Neil Fachie and Disley’s Barney Storey in a thrilling climax to the men’s individual B sprint - for riders with a visual impairment - at the London velodome on Sunday.

Former Chapel High School pupil Kappes, who is registered partially blind after being struck down by a genetic condition, won the best of three final 2-0 to retain the title he had won in Beijing four years earlier.

In the earlier qualification heat, Kappes and Maclean completed a flying 200m sprint in 10.050 seconds to smash the world record.

The gold medal was particularly sweet after the disappointment 24 hours earlier of being disqualified from the 1km Time Trial after Kappes and Maclean suffered mechanical problems at the start of their run. Fachie and his pilot Storey went on to take the gold in that event.

“You don’t get many opportunities,” said Kappes, 39, after Sunday’s gold medal win.

“Yesterday we blew it but today we had a chance to demonstrate what we can do so I can’t complain.”

Now living in Stockport, Kappes was brought up in Chapel-en-le-Frith and is a former employee of Otter Controls in Buxton.

He suffers from the condition known as retina pigmentation - a genetic condition which only affects men. Although not totally blind, he struggles to see in low light inside, outdoors at night and in bright sun. He also has blindspots.

Since joining the GB Cycling Team seven years ago, Kappes has won world and Paralympic titles. He collected two gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, riding tandem with Storey.

Royal Mail is to paint one of its historic red post boxes gold in Chapel-en-le-Frith to honour Kappes’ medal win, and he will also appear on a special ParalympicsGB Gold Medal stamp.