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An extraordinary para-cyclist who is making South Africa proud!

Toni Mould Breaking the Mould 1

Toni Mould may have been born with Cerebral Palsy, but it is the absolute last thing that defines this incredible South African athlete.

 

Toni Mould (34) is an incredible South African athlete who is doing everything in her power to represent our country in Para-cycling.

Toni took up para-cycling in 2013 after years of wanting to take up a competitive sport but never having the opportunity to do so. Very quickly cycling filled a gap in her life that had been vacant since her early teenage years. The incredible athlete applied herself to training and over the last four years has accomplished a World Cup win in 2016 for her category and in 2017 won a silver medal at the Paracycling World Championships in Pietermarizburg.

In November she was named as a finalist for South African Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability for 2017.

But it’s Toni’s story of sheer determination that fills one with pride for this South African athlete.

“Because I am living what most think is an extraordinary life, by not letting my disability dictate what I do with my life and doing what most thought was/is impossible for me, I have a big sphere of influence, become an inspiration to many and am well known beyond my personal circles. This gives me the opportunity to reach out and positively influence the world around me and beyond.”

Toni grew up in the small coastal town of Plettenberg Bay. It was one of those towns where everyone knew everyone. Add to the fact that her parents own the longest running restaurant in town, The Med Seafood Bistro, meant her family have been well-known in the community for the last 30 years.

But there was something else the made them known by our community – Toni was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP), a physical disability that stems from a birth complication.

CP, as it is often called, comes in various forms and degrees. Toni’s disability is purely physical and affects her motor skills as well as her speech and balance.

“Thanks to my wonderful parents and supportive brother and relatives, it was decided that I would be encouraged to live as normal a life as I could in a world which wasn’t really suited to my needs.”

At age 7 the determined South African started to walk and was sent to a special school which could provide her with the kind of support that she needed at that stage.

“Looking back I can see, already then, signs of myself dabbling in activities and academic pursuits that would suprise many. A few certificate for academics, a floating trophy for consistent academic achievement in spite of physical disability, junior chess trophy, horse riding exams were my major achievements in my first five years of schooling.”

After school Toni took a gap year before starting at Stellenbosch University down in the Cape, she intitially started a BA In Humanities but after successfully completing the first two years of the degree, decided to change to something she was very passionate about. Later, in 2009, Toni graduated from Stellenbosch with her Social Work degree in hand.

“Although studying at varsity was not the easiest thing I’ve done in my life, it was the best thing I did. My life kind of started when I came to Stellenbosch. Here, for the first time in my life I made friends who understood and accepted me. I became a Ballroom and Latin dancer, a leader in the population of students with special needs as well as a three-time winner of the Rector’s Award for Succeeding against the Odds.”

Toni has since made Stellenbosch her home and has started an NPO with a friend.

Bridging Abilities aims to use sport and recreation camps and rehabilitation to improve the quality of life for each individual that they work with. They strive to do this by providing them with the opportunities to develop themselves physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually.

“It is our belief that through sport and recreation we can build on the abilities and strengths of each young person and empower them to reach their own potential and become someone who can make a contribution in society.”

This incredible South African athlete’s story is only beginning, as she has been selected to represent South Africa in Europe and Canada this year at the World Cups!

Only 5 riders were selected and Toni is the only female rider. To follow her journey or support in any way, click here.

Toni Mould Breaking the Mould 1


Sources: Toni Mould
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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