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World champion Katie

Judy Brown

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Katie Toft Chinley UCI World Championships Great Britain Paracycling Derbyshire Institute of Sport Barney Storey

Katie Toft, Chinley’s para-cycling star, came home from the UCI World Championships at Rio de Janeiro in March as a world champion herself, bearing gold, silver and a rainbow jersey.

Making her debut in the Great Britain team, she won gold in her first track cycling event, the women’s category C1 3000m individual pursuit. ‘I couldn’t believe it!’ said Katie. ‘I knew I was in good form but never expected that. Knowing I was world champion was just an amazing feeling!’ And the following day she won silver in the C1 500m time trial. The GB para-cycling team between them topped the medals table, winning eleven gold medals, four silver and three bronze. Their achievement puts them well on the way to qualifying for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. 

Katie Toft

For the UCI, ‘para-cycling is all about courage, commitment and performance’. These qualities shine out in Katie, whose talent and determination have powered her to the top since she started cycle training with Stockport CP Wheelers only five years ago. It was the club members and coaches she met there who inspired her passion for cycle sport. ‘They understood what you could and couldn’t do with cerebral palsy; how to set personal goals and build up your strengths.’ Currently Katie works on her track skills, strength and conditioning with the Derbyshire Institute of Sport, while her main coach is the Paralympian cyclist Barney Storey. 

Katie has a degree and teaching qualification from Sheffield Hallam University and is studying for a master’s degree while working part time at an after-school club. Combining work, study and cycle training is a daily challenge. On the bike she goes in for road racing, time trials, track events, ‘a bit of everything really’, and takes time out for a club run with Chinley Churners when possible. Katie is also an ambassador for CP Teens UK, where her blog posts and videos encourage and inspire other young people with cerebral palsy to follow their dreams as she has done. 

Katie’s gold medal and world championship title from Rio entitle her to wear the rainbow jersey for a year when competing in the same type of track pursuit events. She is aiming for the 2018 Para-cycling World Cup series, which this year visits Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada. 

But to get there she needs support. Training costs money and time. If Katie is to go on competing, she needs to find sponsorship or other financial support. She worries ‘If I don’t sort something soon, I will not be able to afford to race either in the UK or internationally, which would be really upsetting for everyone involved.’ If you could help, please contact Katie at KatieToftPara-cyclist@hotmail.com, or via Facebook, or Twitter @KatieToft, or Instagram @TeamToft.