Nescot student to run 400m at Special Olympics in Los Angeles

Mar 16, 2015

Nescot student to run 400m at Special Olympics in Los Angeles

A Nescot student has been chosen to compete in the Special Olympics World Games in July, 79 years after his great-grandfather won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Daniel Wolff, who is doing the Preparation for Life and Work (PfLaW) department’s Transition into Employment programme, will run the 400m at the competition in Los Angeles.

The 20-year-old, who has autism, will be travelling to America with his family, and said he is feeling nervous about the competition.

"I would like to do well like my great-grandfather did," Daniel said. "I am a bit anxious because I haven’t been away from home for more than two weeks before. I’m feeling a bit shy about it."

Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects how a person communicates with and relates to people, and how they make sense of the world around them.

Daniel was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and joined Nescot’s PfLaW department in 2012. He moved from the family home to his own flat in Cheam in December 2014.

His personal best for the 400m is 58.01 seconds, and he trains by taking part in weekly 5km parkruns around Nonsuch Park in Cheam, as well as in Kingston.

"I liked sport but I didn’t start doing athletics until 2009, and then it turned out I was good at it so I kept going," Daniel said.

"I prefer running outside, and my favourite place to run is in parks. I like running in Cheam especially.

"When I am running it’s a good way to feel really calm and relaxed, because you’re only thinking about your running and not about anything else."

Adam Beral, head of Nescot's PfLaW and Animal Studies departments, said: "We're all really proud of Daniel - to be selected to compete in such a prestigious competition is a great achievement.

"We know Daniel will do really well, and we're looking forward to being able to follow the World Games from here in Surrey." 

This year’s Special Olympic World Games takes place from July 25 to August 2, with 7,000 athletes from 177 countries competing in 28 venues.

Daniel’s great-grandfather Frederick Wolff, known as Freddie, ran the opening leg of the 4x 400m relay in Berlin in 1936, setting a new European record of three minutes and nine seconds with team-mates William Roberts, Godfrey Brown and Godfrey Rampling.

He served in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during the Second World War, when he was promoted to captain. He was made a CBE in 1975, and died in 1988.

Black and white photograph courtesy of Jeremy Nako. Team photograph below courtesy of Special Olympics GB.

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