WHEN some sports men and women are no longer able to participate at the highest level of their chosen sport, they simply ride off into the sunset, others, however, opt to give something back by offering their time and expertise.
One such person who opted for the latter is Killea native, Paddy Toland, who achieved world champion status in his chosen sport of kickboxing and now runs the highly successful PT’s Kickboxing Club.
For as long as I’ve known Paddy, which has been a fairly long time, he has impressed me as someone who was single-minded in pursuit of his goals and he would have been a success at any sport he chose such was his level of dedication.
This was a man who walked from Killea to Derry and back again three nights a week and supplemented that by travelling once a week to Waterford for sparring sessions.
With that level of dedication, it came as no surprise to those that knew him that Paddy Toland eventually travelled to Australia in 1988 and came back with a world title.
Paddy now runs PT’s Gym which is now producing world champions of its own but, equally as important is the disciplined ethos of sportsmanship required of its 450 members of all ages.
Indeed, members tell me that they are almost as proud of their youth programmes as they are of their various champions at European and world level.
On Saturday, March 5th local man Daniel ‘Pinta’ Quigley became ISKA world heavyweight champion and alongside fellow world champion, Letterkenny’s Tommy ‘The Ghost’ McCafferty, further enhanced the name of PT’s and the sport itself.
Also members of the club are Derry man and Commonwealth champion, Aidan ‘Lights Out’ Lafferty and current European flyweight champion, Carrigans native, Natalie McCarron.
Young men and women wishing to take up this sport can be assured they are in good hands and if they show the single-mindedness of Paddy Toland himself, then they could be future champions.
PT’s is proud of the fact that so many people of all ages consistently come through its doors and, make no mistake, Paddy won’t just make them good kickboxers or get them fit, he will also make sure they know the true meaning of sportsmanship.
Read more from the Doc in the Journal every Tuesday