I can promise that I will push Othman to his mental and physical limits for him to retain his third Paralympic title.
I have been asked on many occasions: who is my main rival for Paralympic gold in Rio 2016?
I regard Egypt’s Sherif Othman as my main rival and the only man that could stop me realising my dreams of becoming the Paralympic champion.
I first watched Othman at Beijing 2008 Paralympics where he shocked the crowd by becoming the first man to lift 200kg in the old 56kg class. I was at my first Paralympic Games and it was a privilege to witness such a historic performance. I knew that what I was watching was an incredible lifter who had just raised the bar for Paralympic powerlifting forever, achieving near impossible weights.
In my opinion Othman should be considered the greatest athlete to grace the bench press in history being a two-time world and Paralympic champion.
I don’t have role models but, if I did, Othman would be high on my list. He is someone I have enormous respect for and I aspire to be like.
Recently, there has been mention that Othman will move up to my weight class (59kg). I agree with his decision to move up and challenge himself against the best in the world in higher classes, it is a sign of a true champion.
But I am also aware that now I will start as a massive underdog in Rio2016. Othman has not been beaten for eight years, and no one has ever come close to challenging him properly.
My whole life has been an underdog story, and I am aware it is a near impossible task to overcome him. But I have pursued every element of my life to improve in order to challenge Othman.
I can promise that I will push Othman to his mental and physical limits for him to retain his third Paralympic title. I won’t back down easily. It will be such an honour to compete head-to-head with such a sporting idol and I cannot wait.
I know in order to achieve my Paralympic dream I’ll have to beat the greatest of all time; I would not have it any other way. That’s how Paralympic gold medals should be won. But whatever happens it will keep IPC Powerlifting fans on the edge of their seats.