Wheelchair racer Will Smith plots patient path to success

Norfolk wheelchair racer Will Smith. Picture: Nick Webster

Norfolk wheelchair racer Will Smith. Picture: Nick Webster - Credit: Nick Webster

As a protégé of the great David Weir, you'd forgive Norwich wheelchair racer Will Smith for being overawed when it comes to the big occasion.

But when you've competed at a Commonwealth Games, World Junior Championships and have Paralympic Games in your sights, excitement more than trepidation dominates the 22-year-old's mind.

And the City of Norwich Athletics Club racer is determined not to rush too far ahead, knowing his path to the top will almost certainly be a patient one – with Tokyo 2020 next on the agenda.

'It was by chance really that I got into athletics,' explained the former Dereham Sixth Form College student. 'My mum and dad are both sporty people and did the Great North Run a few years back, so I turned up for the wheelchair mile just in my day chair.

'On the start line there was a woman from a charity called GetKidsGoing! and they sponsor kids and provide sporting equipment. She asked if I ever thought about giving wheelchair racing a go and the charity lent me a second-hand racing wheelchair and I had a go in it and fell in love with it.

'The highlight so far has probably been representing England at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 but this year is quite quiet as I'm at St Mary's University so I'm focusing more on domestic racing this coming season, but it's all about progressing. I'm still relatively young in terms of wheelchair racing, the top guys tend to peak at around their mid-30s so for me it's more about just continuing to get quicker and bring my PBs down. The long-term goal is looking towards the Paralympics in 2020 and 2024.'

Nottingham Building Society are teaming up with charity SportsAid to support 50 local athletes on their journey with their 'time to shine', each receiving £750 of funding.

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Having already donated £240,000 to SportsAid to help athletes, the Nottingham Building Society are now also helping athletes on the path to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and beyond.

<BLOB> Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray teamed up with SportsAid in 2013 to help future sports stars get their time to shine. Visit thenottingham.com to find out more.

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