'A great experience' – now Alan hopes to slide again
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
DALE slider Alan Toward has been bitten by the bobsleigh bug.
After enjoying a rollercoaster of a debut season, the 27-year-old from Middleton-in-Teesdale says he would love to have another crack at the sport.
Despite the disappointment of being left out of the four-man GB crew which competed at the World Championships in Canada, Alan says his first season in the sport was a “great experience”.
He was catapulted into the GB squad last October after impressing at trials which began earlier last summer.
He was part of Olympic veteran Brad Hall's team throughout the winter, competing in the North American Cup and World Cup races ahead of the season’s World Championship finale.
With the season now over, Alan is back in the UK.
Reflecting on the past few months, he said: “Unfortunately I was made the spare for the world championships. The decision was made to go with the Olympic crew.
“I was disappointed not to make the sled but I’ve also had a great experience over the last few months.
“Not many new guys make a full World Cup and world championships squad in their first season, so hopefully this bodes will for my future development in the sport.”
He added: “It was a good experience to be part of the team and support them in the best way I could.
“The coaches were great at supporting me through the season and when they had to make their decision. I respect that they made their choice based on what was best for at the time.”
He said both GB sleds had competed hard in highly competitive fields, posting solid start times and producing consistent results.
In the two-man event, Alan’s teammates Brad Hall and Nick Leeson produced the best result by a British crew for decades.
“For now, the season is finished. I believe meetings will be taking place with UK Sport over the next few months to decide what will happen in the future. I hope we can continue as I’d like to be part of the programme again.”
Meanwhile, there is the possibility of Alan returning to the discus, the sport in which he has made his name in the past decade.
“I’ve actually been on the England athletics talent camp for testing. So there’s a strong possibility I’ll throw this season – after a bit of a rest.”
Alan will be in Barnard Castle on Wednesday, April 3, when he will be the guest of Teesdale Lions Club at its meeting at Glaxo Sports and Social Club.