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World champs kudos

Date Released: Wed, 4 July 2012 08:00 +0200

Grahamstown athlete Tim Stones is thrilled at his appointment by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) as athletics technical director for the 2012 World Deaf Athletics Championships, in Toronto. The event takes place from 14 -21 July and Stones will set off for the event tomorrow. Stones matriculated at St Andrew's College in 1996, after which he completed his MA in Religious Studies in 2005 at UCT. In 2006, he completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Rhodes University.


Stones represented Britain as an athlete at the 2008 World Deaf Athletics Championships in Izmir, Turkey, and at the 2009 Deaflympics in Taipei, both times competing in the marathon. He is qualified both as a coach and as a technical official. Stones said he was no longer able to run like he used to, because of repeated episodes of an illness that caused severe movement challenges and muscular weakness. "I am honoured and most privileged to be able to give back to the sport that gave me so much, as an administrator," said Stones, describing his appointment as technical director as "an amazing opportunity". Stones will represent Britain at the competition and will also assist at the Sofia 2013 Deaflympics.


"The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf is lucky to have such talented former athletes now prepared to give back to our deaf athletics community" said the organisation's president, Craig Crowley, in a press statement. "The World Deaf Athletics Championships are just around the corner," Crowley said. "And preparations for Sofia 2013 are increasing in pace. It is vital that we ensure our deaf athletes have the best and fairest possible conditions in which to compete. "I'm delighted that Tim Stones will be joined in Toronto by a technical delegate from the relevant international federation, the International Association of Athletics Federations. Best wishes to all participants as they make their final preparations." Stones said he is trying to keep up his running. "It's not easy, after the most recent relapse of this illness that causes (during acute phases) severe difficulties with movement and muscle weakness. My body has not fully recovered from the latest relapse, but I love my running... even if these days it's 7-plus minutes a kilometre," he told Grocott's Mail on Friday.


He started running seriously during his later high school years, mostly road races, but also some track and cross-country, earning his school cross-country colours. He also ran for UCT, during which time one of the highlights for him was competing in the national universities' 15km road race. He also ran for Rhodes in the Trivarsity Road Relay in 2006. Rhodes won that year, for the first time in severa! years, and also broke the record. Stones has completed 12 standard marathons, and seven ultramarathons (two Comrades, two Two Oceans, two False Bay 501cm Ultras, and the Cape Town 1001cm). In April 2007, Stones became ill and was hospitalised for almost a month.


The illness severely affected his movement and weakened his muscles. It took months for him to learn to walk again properly with the use of a stick "Eventually, I mostly recovered, acquired an excellent coach and started running again," Stones said. "To my surprise, I was able to qualify to be selected for the British Deaf Athletics Team". In the same year, he won the Boland Senior Men's 121cm cross-country league title, and was recognised as Western Cape Deaf Athlete of the Year. In September 2009, he again represented Great Britain at the Deaflympics -the Olympic Games for the Deaf, in Taipei, Taiwan, in the marathon. He described the conditions there as excruciating, with half the field dropping out along the way. "I finished, collapsing as I crossed the finish line."


Later that year, Stones was again acknowledged as Western Cape Deaf Athletics Performance of the Year. Stones had a relapse in November 2009 and again had to walk with a stick He said he "mostly" recovered again and in 2010 he competed in the Western Province Masters Athletics Champs, winning the 30-34 age-group. TOP JOB... Tim Stones, who still enjoys running, will be the athletics technical director for the 2012 World Deaf Athletics Championships, in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Stephen Penney