Torbay teenager Jaden Movold is a force to be reckoned with. From community service champion to New Zealand’s fastest wheelchair athlete, the former deputy head boy at Rangitoto College has recently returned from Australia where he brought home a medal in his first ever overseas competition.
The AUT Bachelor of Arts Psychology student shares, “I am currently New Zealand’s fastest competitive wheelchair racer, competing in all distances from 100m – 10,000m. And I have reduced my times in all distances this season.
“At the Australian Athletics Champs I won bronze for the 400m Open Men’s Wheelchair. I also competed in my first 10km road race this month where I achieved a new NZ age group record for my para classification.”
During the first lockdown in 2020, Jaden’s athletic pursuits benefited from his dad’s ingenuity. “Due to my dad's creativity, he was able to make rollers that my racing chair could sit on, and I could push in one place. This allowed me to be able to keep up my training in my garage until restrictions ended and we could get back to the track. I was able to maintain my high level of fitness during these times.”
Jaden’s road into athletics was influenced by his ‘sporty family’. ““My parents used to play a variety of sports and my older sister was a competitive swimmer for many years. Since as early as I can remember I have been active and was always encouraged by my parents to try different sports.
“I’ve had so many awesome moments since I started my wheelchair racing journey. Some highlights include competing at the NZ Athletics Champs for the past three years securing podium finishes and competing at the Australia champs this year after two years of lockdown and cancelled events and becoming a NZ age group record holder in various distances.”
Another athletics highlight for Jaden took place online. “Competing in the Virtual Boston Marathon at 3am in my garage in 2020 during lockdown via zoom alongside many wheelchair racing Paralympians and international champions athletes,” he says.
“In addition to my family’s support, I have been lucky to have so many incredible coaches over the years who saw past my disability and supported my journey in sport. It’s a combination of various people in my life that has enabled me to believe in my skill and potential that led me to become a competitive athlete.”
Jaden’s next goal is to achieve international classification which means he will be able to compete in events worldwide and be ranked as an international athlete. He will focus on his winter training and hopes to attend training camps next season in Australia and worldwide. He is aiming big. “In the next couple of years, I hope to compete in Switzerland at the Grand Prix Wheelchair Racing series, and at a World Para Athletics Champs. My ultimate aim is to represent NZ at the 2028 Paralympic Games.”
Winning the 2015 Junior AIMES Award for Services to the Community helped Jaden in his work to change societal attitudes towards disability and he encourages other young people to back themselves and apply.
“This gave me the funds to continue my passions in changing attitudes towards those with disabilities in society. It also gave me the opportunity to be part of an incredible network of phenomenal young New Zealanders as part of the AIMES Alumni.
“My advice for young Shore people considering applying this year is to definitely apply. You have nothing to lose. And then just keep on living life to the fullest. Don’t just settle for being good, aim to achieve greatness. Follow your dreams, have a can-do positive mindset, and definitely ask for help if you need it.”
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