Year 12 Rangitoto College student Jaden Movold has always loved competing in sports, but it wasn’t until a year ago that he found a new passion in wheelchair racing. During lockdown, Jaden got up at 12.30am to be a part of a virtual Boston Marathon through Zoom with World and Paralympic Wheelchair Racing champions from all over the world. He got to meet his idols and pushed for 1 hour 18 minutes and 4 seconds (the current Boston record time), with over 60 other racers. He pushed for over 21 kms straight – the longest he had pushed before was 5km.
How did you get into your favourite sports?
I’ve been active my whole life. I was always encouraged by my parents to stay fit and healthy, so I got involved with lots of different sports and found it so much fun. I started swimming when I was a baby and then turned to competitive swimming about 5 years ago. I’ve been doing triathlons for 8 years and playing wheelchair basketball for 6 years. I still get involved with these sports but switched from competitive swimming last year to competitive wheelchair racing. I was approached by an athletics coach last year who wanted to coach me shot put but after a while we both discovered that wheelchair racing was more for me.
What motivates you to play sport?
I love being active. I love to challenge myself to achieve my goals in improving myself all the time and getting faster. I love the freedom and speed which wheelchair racing gives me. The athletic community are so friendly and supportive, and its awesome to share the track with New Zealand champions when I train. I also love the fact I don’t need to get up at 4.30am to train like I did when I swam competitively!
How did you keep active during lockdown?
My dad built me an indoor wooden training structure that my racing wheelchair rests on and we put rolled up material under my wheels to create resistance. I was on my trainer most days of the week and wheeled approximately 25-30kms a week. I also did an online strength and conditioning programme through Zoom with other disabled athletes a couple times a week. Twice a week I connected with other Australian wheelchair racers through Zoom and we trained together.
What has been your favourite sporting moment over the past year?
I’ve had a few cool sporting moments, but my favourite was probably competing at the New Zealand Track and Field Champs. While the weather was challenging, it was a great experience to be a part of and compete and I was proud of what I achieved given the significant medical challenges I experienced last year. It was awesome to come away with some medals and New Zealand records too.
Who is your sporting role model and why?
As my main sport now is Wheelchair Racing, my biggest role model would probably be Daniel Romanchuk who is a World champion in the 800m. He also won the Boston, New York, Chicago and London marathons within one year. He has Spina Bifida like me and is the same classification.