Having secured a silver medal at the recent Paralympic Games in Rio, wheelchair racer Toby Gold could be forgiven for already letting his mind drift to upgrading that to gold on home soil at next summer’s IPC World Championships.
But the St Mary’s University graduate insists his first priority will be laying the foundations for those Championships with a solid’s winter of hard training.
The 22-year-old has had a 2016 to savour, winning European 100m T33 gold this summer as well as silver in the same event on the greatest stage of all at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
And while a few days rest inevitably followed, Gold knows he can’t afford to get complacent, particularly with the World Championships in London less than a year away.
Gold already has a world bronze to his name from Doha last year and adding to that tally is high on the agenda.
“Obviously London is in the background with the World Championships in 2017 and that’s going to be amazing,” said Gold, who trains in Richmond.
“But I would say in the lead up to that the main focus is to get a good winter’s training in ready for next season.
“Having just come back from Rio I would say that’s the next goal.
“Hopefully I can do really well and medal in London, you never know what’s going to happen but it’s great to have that opportunity and something to aim for.”
Gold was speaking at an event to celebrate the work of SportsAid, the national charity which helps the next generation of British sporting superstars, providing them with financial support and recognition during the early stages of their careers.
At the recent Rio Olympic Games, SportsAid alumni won 46 of Team GB’s 67 medals, with 65% of the team having received support from the charity.
SportsAid alumnus Gold was also among the Paralympic stars to medal and he admitted the charity had been invaluable for helping him on his journey.
“SportsAid is integral to athletes’ success because it fills the gap between grassroots and the elite British UK Lottery funding, particularly in my sport,” he added.
“It funds up and coming athletes who without SportsAid’s support wouldn’t be able to afford things like equipment, warm weather training, international competitions.
“They allow up and coming athletes to make the jump between where they are and senior sport.
“SportsAid week is incredible, it’s a great thing to be a part of. It’s a chance to give something back but also be a part of other athletes’ journeys. It’s about building the charity’s journey and making sure people are aware of the athletes being supported.”
You can make a real difference to the next generation of British athletes heading for Tokyo 2020 and beyond by getting involved in SportsAid Week. Please visit http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek/ to find out more.
Featured image courtesy of Paralympics GB via YouTube, with thanks