South Africa’s most courageous para-cyclist is riding for her country
Toni Mould was never supposed to walk. Severe Cerebral Palsy stunted her growth and impeded her physical development. But Mould has never let her abilities define her. Today she is an athlete, a World Cup winner for her country. She experienced the career highlight after taking part in the South African leg of the 2016 Para-cycling Road World Cup, a moment of triumph that punctuates a profoundly victorious life. And today she races again, taking part in the South African Road & Time-trial Championships.
Most babies begin to tot about on two legs towards the end of their first year and are fully mobile by 14 to 17 months. For Mould, this natural progression from the ground up was made close to impossible by Cerebral Palsy, a condition that disrupts muscle tone development. Undeterred, she learnt to walk when she was 7. She started para-cycling at 29. Soon after her first ride Mould was taking part in races for disabled athletes, without much experience or the correct equipment. After 18 months she upgraded to a proper racing tricycle and experienced immediate success, placing first at the South African Nationals in 2015. Seven months later she had her national colours.
Mould has epitomised endurance since childhood. She chose to attend school and persevere through the challenges that come with being disabled as a young person. After pushing for years she eventually opted to finish through home schooling. Academics remained important to her and Mould ended up with a degree in Social Work from Stellenbosch University. She has lived out the message she hopes to deliver to others: anything can be accomplished with a focused mind.
Toni is currently raising funds to race in Europe this winter. Support her crowdfunding efforts HERE