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Miracle: Dutch paralyzed cyclist Monique van der Vorst turns marathoner after crash

Updated: 25 Nov 2011
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A Paralympic cyclist may represent her country in the Olympics after a bike crash miraculously gave her back the use of her legs. 
 
Monique van der Vorst, 27, was paralysed from the waist down and had been confined to a wheelchair for 13 years.
 
Powering a bike with her hands, she had represented the Netherlands at the Paralympic Games and won two silver medals. 
  
 

Great recovery: She now competes on a standard bicycle and was this week given one of just 11 places on a top women's professional cycling team
   
But last year, after being knocked off her bike, her feet started to tingle, and within months, she was able to walk again.
 
She now competes on a standard bicycle and was this week given one of just 11 places on a top women’s professional cycling team.
 
Her dream is to ride in the 2016 Olympics. 
  
  

Competing: Monique in Beijing on her way to winning silver during the 2008 Paralympic Games in China
   
Team spokesman Luuc Eisenga said: ‘It seems like a miracle.’

Miss van der Vorst was a sporty child who enjoyed tennis and hockey.
 
At 13, she had just taken up cycling when a routine ankle operation resulted in nerve damage and left one leg paralysed from the hip down.
 
Confined to a wheelchair, she took up hand-cycling and competed nationally and internationally, winning six European and three world championship titles. 
  
   

Miracle recovery: Monique van der Vorst running the XVII Rome Marathon Short Distance in March
   
In 2008, she was hit by a car, which damaged her spinal cord and left her completely paralysed from the waist down. 
   
Later that year, she won two silver medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games.
 
Last year, while in her ‘best shape ever’ and training for the 2012 Paralympics in London, she was involved in another accident - this time with another cyclist. 
 
Her body went into spasm and she started to feel tingling on first one foot and then the other. 
 
By the end of the year, she was walking again.
 
She told the Independent: ‘The sudden change of standing after being in a wheelchair is indescribable because suddenly the whole world has a different perspective. 
 
'It is really nice walking next to someone and being able to look straight into that person’s eyes.’
  
She has now swapped her hand-bike for a regular model and has started racing competitively. 
 
Earlier this week, she was signed by the Dutch Rabobank’s women’s cycling team, where she will train with some of the world’s best. 
 
Mr Eisenga said: ‘When we met Monique, we saw an athlete with incredible willpower and the right mentality for sport.
 
'She has a really good level in cycling and we believe we can help her develop as a professional bike rider.’
 
Asked if she might make it to the Olympics, he said: ‘In sport, everything is possible.’
 
Team coach Jeroen Blijlevens said: ‘I am sure the other members of the team have a lot to learn from Monique.’
  
SOURCE: 
dailymail.co.uk
  
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