Isaac Towers flies flag for the Fylde in Team GB at Tokyo Paralympics
He is still only 22, but Blackpool-born wheelchair athlete Isaac Towers already has plenty of experience under his belt as he aims to add another prestigious medal to his collection in the 800m at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Based at Catterall in Wyre, Towers has already been in Japan for over a week as he bids to maximise his chances of success at the Games which get under way tomorrow – although his is among the later events, with heats on Friday, September 3 and the final the following day.
Towers, who competes in the T34 category for athletes with cerebral palsy, gained his first Paralympic experience at Rio five years ago, finishing fifth in the 800m final.
The former AKS and Cardinal Newman College student went on to take bronze at the Para World Championships in London the following year to add to his five European Championship medals from 2014 and 2016.
These included European gold, in Italy in 2016, two silvers and two bronzes.
Two of those medals were in the 400m and one in the 200m, and although Isaac continues to complete over multiple distances he will concentrate on the 800m in Tokyo.
“There is no 200m or 400m in Isaac’s category at the Paralympics,” his father Frank told The Gazette: “It’s 100m and 800m and Isaac would not really have a chance of a medal at the 100m, so he will focus on the 800m.”
Towers narrowly missed out on further medals at the European Championships of 2018 in Germany, finishing fourth in both the 400m (missing out by a hundredth of a second) and 800m. His GB teammate Ben Rowlings took silver in both events.
At the last world championships in Dubai two years ago, Towers finished sixth in the 800m final and seventh in the 400m.
“Isaac was a little unlucky in Dubai,” recalls Frank. “He was the second-fastest qualifier but there was an issue with the lanes for the final and it just didn’t go according to plan.”
Both those races were dominated by the Tunisian Walid Ktila and Mohamed Alhammadi of the UAE, and they will again be the men to beat in Tokyo.
Frank added: “Those lads will take some beating but Isaac is in good health and good form, and we’re always hopeful.”
However, the Fylde coast’s only 2021 Paralympian or Olympian will not represent the Blackpool Wyre and Fylde club at these Games, having moved over to Kirkby AC in Liverpool.
Frank explained: “It’s nothing against Blackpool but Isaac has always trained at Kirkby – it’s just that the club didn’t have UK Sport affiliation and Blackpool did.”
A full-time, fully-funded athlete, Isaac’s coaching under Peter Wyman has gone well despite all the issues of the past 18 months.
“There hasn’t been much competition since 2019 for obvious reasons,” says Frank, “and what international events have taken place we decided against entering because of the restrictions.
“He has been racing at home because you still have to get some times on paper to qualify for the Paralympic team. He still had to meet the criteria and show some form.
“But it certainly wasn’t easy for Isaac during lockdown because he could not get out of the track.
He was able to do some work with his coach at Sefton Park in Liverpool, and work on the rollers and weights in the conservatory at home, but it wasn’t the same.”
And Isaac’s father is confident the best is still to come from the former BBC young sports personality of the year nominee.
“He is getting there and is gaining experience. He is comfortably placed in the top six or seven in the world, though his funding was always geared towards the Paris Paralympics of 2024.”
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