“I train my body and my mind every day and pay attention to all the aspects of my practices.”
Italy’s Vincenzo Boni will make his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, where he aims to “sing the Italian national anthem after one of my events.”
The 28-year-old burst onto the sporting scene at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, winning one silver and three bronze.
“That was my first international competition and I was so afraid of failing,” he said.
“I was very nervous, but in the end could do what I planned and achieved good results!”
Earlier this month, Boni shined at the European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal, where he claimed one gold, two silver and two bronze.
“I was a little bit more confident of my swimming capabilities in Funchal, but also knew that I should not underestimate my contenders,” said Boni, who holds the 100m backstroke S3 world record (01:39.86) and the 50m backstroke S3 European record (45.68).
With four months to go until the Paralympic Games, Boni is ready to take another big leap forward.
“I consider Funchal as a great starting point, but Rio is going to be a whole different story,” he said.
“There will be a lot of factors to consider such as anxiety and fear of failure. I will have to handle my emotions because competing at your first Paralympic Games is not an every-day thing.
“I want to do my best and not disappoint the people who believe in me. I hope to return to Italy with some good performances.”
Boni, who will compete in the 50m backstroke, 50m and 200m freestyle and the 4x50m freestyle 20pts events, mentions Russia’s 19-year old Alexander Makarov as one of his main rivals for Rio.
“Makarov performed really well in Funchal, pushing me to my limits, and will be a hard-to-beat swimmer in Rio as well,” he said.
“I would mention Ukraine’s world champion and Paralympic medallist Dmytro Vynohradets as another main contender. And China has really good swimmers to look out for, too.”
Boni is especially looking forward to the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony, which he believes will be memorable.
“Rio is famous for its Carnival, so I am very curious about how the Opening Ceremony is going to be,” he said.
“I imagine the Paralympic Games will be a beautiful and colourful event.”
The Italian swimmer is training hard to meet his objectives in Rio and does not want to leave anything to chance.
“I am a self-motivated person. Swimming for me is a job. I train my body and my mind every day and pay attention to all the aspects of my practices,” he said.
“However, I still need to overcome my fears before starting a race.
“I cannot make any predictions on which results I will get in Rio. Don’t you know that people from Naples as me are superstitious? But I will give my best, be sure about that!”
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.