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Kiwi para cyclist overcomes near-death accident to set sights on Paralympic gold

Kiwi para cyclist Eltje Malzbender is using her love for cycling to make the best of what's now a lifelong injury.

The 57-year-old was the victim of what's believed to be a hit and run while on a training ride in the King Country, the damage to her brain so bad that she was given the lowest possible survival rate.

"Everything was difficult and still everything is difficult," she told 1 NEWS.

"I can't just jump up and go to the toilet, I have to concentrate even when I walk, I have to concentrate when my foot comes down."

In a coma for three months, doctors though Malzbender would never speak again. However, she'd prove them wrong just five months later.

What keeps her going is her love of cycling, having ridden competitively for 30 years before her accident.

That love has seen her take up para cycling on a trike, now leading the world in the T1 classification.

Malzbender claimed gold in both the road race and time trial at this year's Para Cycling World Cup in Belgium earlier this year, next week heading to the world championships in the Netherlands.

Coach Michael Bland confident that there's even more to come from the German-born Kiwi, chasing Paralympic glory.

"We'd expect to see Eltje, one, at Tokyo, and then probably podium at Tokyo," he told 1 NEWS.

Having defied the odds this far, the only direction that Malzbender's going, is forward.

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Eltje Malzbender isn’t letting her near fatal injuries slow her down on the quest to Tokyo. Source: 1 NEWS


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