A top athletics coach and sports enthusiast Josip Tomić will ses the start of Wings for Life World Run in Zadar for the first time this Sunday. His inspiring life story proves that one should never give up…
On May 6, Wings for Life World Run will once again be the main sports event on all six continents. Running enthusiast participating in the event in Zadar will have another chance to show how big their hearts are and how great it is to join forces for a common goal – finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.
Josip Tomić will be there at the start of Wings for Life World Run in Zadar for the first time. He is an athletics legend, and a person who dedicated his life to sports. His life story has inspired many. Even though he was diagnosed with an injury to the lower part of the spine at the age of there, due to which he had numerous surgeries throughout his life, which prevented him to become a top athlete, but never stopped him from getting an impressive CV in the world of sports.
“Falling down is not a problem, but not having the courage to get back on our feet definitely is,” says Tomić, proudly adding that he took up rowing, and didn’t give it up for 20 years, which helped him preserve his mobility with the use of crutches, and never end up in a wheelchair.
In the last four decade Josip made a great contribution to the sports community in Biograd. He started a swimming school, was member of the board of TMB water polo club at its peak, started the popular trekking event called Škraping on the island of Pašman. But athletics was his greatest passion of all so he specialized as a distance running coach, and also worked as a massage therapist.
“Sports is my life. The people I coached are like my children. I always made an extra effort for them, just like parents make an extra effort for their children. Making them good people was always more important to me than teaching them how to win medals, but they usually succeeded in both.”
He is coming to Zadar for Wings for Life World Run to support his extraordinary runners Dražen Dinjar and Josip Serdarović, but he has a message of support for all the participants with spinal cord injuries as well.
“I want to encourage my colleagues, and tell them not to give up but to hold their heads high and be proud of who they are. We should all do our best to make our handicap our advantage. For example, if we make an effort we, the people with disabilities, can see and understand things that people who are healthy can’t because they’re too busy pursuing their careers. Sports is one of the greatest chances for people with disabilities to become accomplished and be equal to the others. Sports gives you both physical and mental strength, and also gives you an opportunity to meet people who can encourage you and cheer you up. You can do the same for them. You help yourself, and you help others. You become a valuable member of the community. Just look at Ana Sršen and Mihovil Španja.
When it comes to the Wings for Life World Run movement, he is full of praise.
“It’s a remarkable initiative. I take my hat off to the person who came up with the idea and I congratulate them from the bottom of my heart. When you have a person such as David Coulthard driving a catcher car and helping the runners, and so many other athletes supporting the race, that is a clear indicator of how big it is. Collecting money for research is important, but what is more important is sending a message to people with spinal cord injuries. Knowing the whole world is thinking about them gives them extra strength to keep fighting. And fighting is what you need to do, not waiting. You must make a step forward towards the other people, because only then you can receive proper help and proper support,” concludes Tomić who is looking forward to May 6!