The track and field season has now finished for most athletes but for Isaac Towers it is just hotting up … in fact it’s getting very hot indeed.
The wheelchair racer from Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC has been selected to represent Great Britain in three events at the IPC Athletics World Championships, which begin today in Doha, Qatar, where daytime temperatures are reaching around 35 degrees.
The Catterall-based teenager and former AKS pupil, who won two medals at last year’s IPC European Championships in Swansea, will contest the 200m, 400m and 800m in the T34 class for competitors with cerebral palsy in the baking Middle East.
Isaac, who turned 17 at the start of the month, will first compete in the 400m tomorrow and hopes to qualify for the following day’s final.
Sunday’s 800m heats don’t start until 8pm, when temperatures have cooled somewhat, as does Monday’s final. Isaac then has a chance to recharge the batteries before his final event, the 200m, a week tomorrow.
Although Isaac benefits from World Class Performance funding from UK Athletics, he received no financial support for warm weather training and flew out to Qatar 11 days ago to acclimatise.
Dad Frank Towers said: “Quietly we think Isaac has an outside chance but he has only just turned 17 and have never been anywhere so hot. He did compete in the USA this summer and in Italy but the temperatures were not as high.”
Isaac proved he could compete with elite elder athletes in last year’s Europeans, winning 800m silver and 400m bronze, having won Under-15 gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m in the 2013 English Championships.
Yet it’s still a major step up to compete alongside 1,300 of the world’s finest athletes in Qatar, all hoping to use the event as a stepping stone to next year’s Rio Paralympics.
Isaac started racing just four years ago and has always been coached by Pete Wyman in Liverpool, though BWF remains his home club and he continues to train twice a week with Fylde coast Paralympian Shelly Woods.
Frank continued: “He tried various sports, like basketball, archery and shooting, but as soon as he got into a racing chair he knew that was what he was going to do.”
Having combined athletics with his GCSE studies at AKS, Isaac last month started a BTEC Course at Cardinal Newman College in Preston after a hectic summer.
His dad explained: “Isaac’s exams didn’t finish until June, and by then he was behind everyone else in training.
“However, he has worked hard, went across the Atlantic for the US Paralympic Championships and got some better times as the summer went on.
“Every weekend we head somewhere, and it usually means a long journey south on a Friday, but we take a lot of pride in everything Isaac has achieved.” Hopefully some of the proudest moments yet are just days away