A YORK sportsman is seeking support as he takes on his latest challenge – funding the racing wheelchair he needs to pursue his Paralympic dream.
Tiaan Bosch, 32, from Woodthorpe, needs his own custom-made wheelchair if he is to progress to international level, as at present he can only borrow a racing chair which is not made to his size and is based in Leeds.
He said: “I’m doing one hour a week, but I need at least four days a week, and at least two hours a session, to get to where I want to get to.”
Tiaan is well aware what he needs to do to gain sporting success.
Born in South Africa, he started running competitively at the age of seven, first in cross-country and then at shorter distances. He was accepted on a US scholarship and won a sports bursary at Pretoria University, but broke his back in a motorbike accident at the age of 17 which left him paraplegic.
Always one to relish a challenge, Tiaan tried activities ranging from scuba diving and skydiving to bungee jumping, but last summer’s Olympics and Paralympics pushed him in the direction of wheelchair racing, which he had previously considered but not seriously taken up.
Now he has a coach who believes he has the potential to progress to international competition, with the ultimate goal of going to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro – but getting his own racing chair is crucial.
Tiaan, who moved to this country four years ago, has calculated that it would take so long, and cost so much, to get a chair custom made in the UK that he would do better by travelling to Florida, where the process will only take a week.
He needs to raise about £3,000 for the chair, racing wheels and indoor training rollers, and is scheduled to fly out on March 9. He has set up his own fundraising page, and already knows what he wants to aim for once he has the new chair.
Concentrating on 400m, 800m and 1,500m races for now, with a T53 classification, he hopes his first race could be at Birmingham in the summer.
After that there are World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games coming up – and, of course, 2016 in Rio.
He said: “I have always got stepping stones. I know what the big goal is, but I have got to climb it somehow – I can’t jump it.”
• Tiaan’s fundraising site is at fundrazr.com/campaigns/7QKb7