"I still can’t get my head around it, but I am forcing myself to put those victories behind me so that I can start to focus on the coming season. It is an important year and I want no doubts that I am at my best.”
Dimitri Coutya is ready to build off his two World Championships titles from last year, starting at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Cup in Eger, Hungary, which is less than a month away.
The competition will kick off the wheelchair fencing season from 16-18 February. It will see Coutya - the British men’s category B foil and epee world No.1 - compete for the first time since sealing gold in both events at the 2017 World Championships in Rome, Italy, in November.
“I have managed to medal in every single event I competed in there,” Coutya said of the Eger World Cup. “I have never managed to win, however, so a personal achievement would be to take gold.”
The 20-year-old admitted he had not reckoned on leaving the 2017 World Championships with two titles.
“I can never gauge how well I am going to do in competition.” Coutya explained. “Even if training is going perfectly, there are so many things that can go wrong, and I am being pitted against such strong opponents.
“I always train with the mind-set that I am going to win double gold because that gives me the drive I need and I think I am capable of it. And in Rome it paid off.
“I was so stunned after the competition that I barely slept for a week,” Coutya recalled. “I took some time off so that I could properly digest it and enjoy it. I still can’t get my head around it, but I am forcing myself to put those victories behind me so that I can start to focus on the coming season. It is an important year and I want no doubts that I am at my best.”
Starting university last September, Coutya has the added challenge of balancing training in with his studies, but has managed thanks to the help of his support team.
“There are a lot of things that you need to get used to when you move to university and trying to do that and train for the World Championships at the same time was very strenuous.
“Luckily for me I have a brilliant network of people to help me, my family, my coaches, the staff at Cardiff University and my friends. So thank you guys!”
In addition to his academic ambitions for the year ahead, Coutya also has his sights set on Tokyo 2020.
“A main goal is the European Championships in September,” Coutya said. “I would love the chance add European medals to my World medals. However, the most important goal is the qualifying competitions that begin after that. I want to hit them as hard as I can to ensure I have a good start to the two-year qualification period.
“I think a lot about it [Tokyo 2020], but I also try not to. Anyone who has competed at a Games knows it is unlike any other competition.”