Surrey wheelchair racer and READY grant recipient Toby Gold, 19, is looking forward to 2014 and a 3rd season of success on the track.
Interviewing Gold going into 2013, I was struck by the athlete’s maturity, determination and drive. Committed and disciplined, Gold is proof that talent, listening to the best advice and dedication to training deliver results.
With the single goal of continuously improving his PBs, Gold put in some outstanding performances, ending 2013 at the top of the UK rankings at over 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m.
Spotted playing wheelchair basketball just over 3 years ago, Gold was invited to try out with the wheelchair racing training squad at Kingsmeadow Athletics Stadium in Kingston. He joined the group and, like most young people starting out, borrowed one of the club’s few racing chairs. With his lap times improving Gold was advised to get his own chair.
Racing chairs are custom-made to fit the individual athlete and cost in the region of £4,000. Gold approached READY to help with funding. His application was successful. “I was so lucky to get funding,” said Toby, “I really appreciate READY’s generosity”.
On getting the new chair, Gold was able to put in quicker and quicker times and began competing at a higher level. Training a minimum of 5 times a week Gold found himself in elite company – mentored by local GB Paralympic superhero David Weir MBE; trained by world class coach Jenny Archer.
The harder Gold trained, the better he performed and the greater the demands on both body and track. To make best use of his racing talent, Gold needed better equipment: initially carbon disc wheels to direct the athlete’s power to the chair and prevent tendonitis; subsequently a pair of smaller push rims enabling a smaller and more frequent stroke, leading to faster times. Again Gold turned to READY for support and a grant was approved.
Entering 2014, with his sights set on an IPC classification, Gold has outgrown his current chair and manufacturer Draft has made all the adjustments it can. The only answer is a larger custom made racing frame. Gold approached READY once more. And, delighted to be able to recognise and support such tenacity and resolve, READY committed to further funding.
Gold also impresses off the track. A stand-out set of A level results secured a sought after slot to read Sports Science at one of London’s top-performing sports institution St Mary’s College. Like his mentor, Weir Archer Academy co-founder David Weir MBE, Gold believes in putting back. Since 2011 Gold has dedicated his Thursday evenings to coaching and inspiring disabled youngsters from 6 to 16 at local wheelchair basketball club Richmond Knights.
As well as thanking READY for their “life changing” funding, Toby Gold actively supports the charity’s fund raising. He also speaks movingly of his family’s tireless support and encouragement. “I am so lucky,” enthused Gold. “How many people my age get to race competitively all over the country, enjoy world class coaching, training and mentoring and get to help other disabled kids into sport? I couldn’t have done any of this without my family, especially Mum. And I couldn’t have done it without READY.”
If you would like to help READY to help young people enjoy sport at any level, please DONATE (links to http://www.justgiving.com/readycharity) here.