The 25-year-old, fondly known as the ‘Blade Runner’ because he runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, was pumping iron at a gym in the northeastern Italian town Gemona on July 4 when his coach’s wife rushed in hysterics with the news he had been cleared to run the men’s individual 400m and in the 4x400 metres relay team.
“It was just overwhelming. I think it took a couple of days for it to settle in and I do not think it will fully settle in until I am on the starting blocks in a couple of weeks,” he said in an interview on Laureus.com in Italy, where he was competing at a pre-Olympic event.
He’s set the semi-finals as goal in London. “If I can make the semi-final and run close to my personal best, I will be happy,” the sprinter said. But he is dreaming about new heights. “I think 2016 in Rio de Janeiro will be where I will be at my pinnacle as a sprinter. Most sprinters peak between 27 and 29 and I will be 29 in Rio so hopefully I can work towards that.”