Tim Williams may have experienced a total change of lifestyle since a rugby accident left him paralysed, but his determination and competitive nature has remained intact.
Aged 19 at the time, Tim was left a quadriplegic following a rugby accident in 1995.
He began hand cycling in 2008 after borrowing a mate’s hand cycle and started off riding 10km a day in jeans. He quickly established a goal of cycling 3650kms in the year and after just a few years in the sport, found himself hand cycling on the world stage.
In 2013 Tim competed in the Matane Paracycling World Cup and at the World Championships in Baie-Comeau, both in Canada.
He was well off the pace that year but returned to international competition in 2014 at the UCI Road Paracycling World Champs in Greenville, USA where he took out bronze in the road race.
Tim also competed in the H1 Time Trial, where he became the world champion and exceeded his expectations in the process.
“I went into it with the hope of getting onto the podium, but to win gold was pretty awesome,” he says.
He donned the rainbow jersey the following year and managed to pick up a pair of silver medals in the road race and the time trial.
Tim missed out on the Rio Paralympics due to there being no medals offered in his class, something he hopes will change for Tokyo in 2020. In the meantime his attention turns to local competition and he says his training has been going to plan.
“I have an event just out of Hamilton in early March, then I’ll be doing New Zealand age group nationals in Carterton where they run a para section in April. And I’ll take it from there, I would love to go to Road World Champs again.”
And Tim has plenty of people around him who thoroughly back him. His uncle Barry Williams and friend Ray Hewlett may both be in their early 70s, but their pace of life hasn’t slowed. The pair have recently ridden the length of the country to raise money for Tim and Paralympics New Zealand.
Always up for an adventure, the friends love being active, so much so that they decided to take on one of the biggest rides possible, from Cape Reinga to Bluff via the west coast of the country.
With a long history of riding together, they decided the fundraising Cape Bluffers Ride was a worthy challenge for a great cause, and decided to split the profits 50/50 between Tim Williams and Paralympics New Zealand.
The connection between Tim and Barry is strong.
“Barry is my uncle. He first told me of this ride on Boxing Day 2017, I thought it was a great thing he was doing, but then he went on to say he was thinking of doing it to help me out and I was blown away!”
Riding the length of the country is no mean feat and to complete it in your 70’s is something truly remarkable. It just goes to show that age is no barrier to being active and taking on new challenges.
Funds can be donated to the cause through the Give A Little page, for the Cape Bluffers Ride.