“My result today says everything. It says how much my life has changed since London. I’m training even harder. It’s not that I didn’t train hard before, just I now push myself even harder to be faster. From now on it’s going to be the same."
History was made at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France on Sunday (21 July) when world records in the men’s T43 and T44 200m were not just beaten, but obliterated with a master class of leg amputee sprinting.
Brazilian sprint king Alan Fonteles Oliveira showed the world that his 200m Paralympic success last year in London was no fluke by claiming the T43 world title for double below knee leg amputees in a blistering 20.66 seconds.
The 20-year old’s time took 0.64 seconds off the previous record held by South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, set in the London 2012 200m semi-finals.
“It’s all about hard work,” said Fonteles Oliveira who only last month ran 10.77 to become the world’s fastest leg amputee. “I’ve been training a lot to go under 21 seconds. I achieved it. I have to say thank you to the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, my family and my girlfriend, who I just proposed to.
“I am very happy. I don’t have words to describe how I’m feeling now.
“My result today says everything. It says how much my life has changed since London. I’m training even harder. It’s not that I didn’t train hard before, just I now push myself even harder to be faster. From now on it’s going to be the same.
"I am really happy about my performance. I made a great start and then in the straight I saw on the giant screen that I was leading with a good distance I saw the seconds passing by and I realised I could break the world record. I hope I will do the same at the 100m,” he added.
In the men’s 200m T44 for single below knee leg amputees, Jarryd Wallace led home an American one, two, three – breaking his own world record in the process. On Saturday Wallace ran 22.32 second and predicted it could be one of shortest standing records ever. He was right!
The 23-year old ran 22.08 to lead home teammate David Prince (22.34) and Jerome Singleton (22.34) who both set personal best and won silver and bronze respectively.
“Humbled, very humbled,” an emotional Wallace said afterwards. “I’ve been working for three years for this moment. All I can say is god’s sovereign. He gets all the glory for this today.”
Wallace used to be a long-distance runner at the University of Georgia, but when compartment syndrome caused most of the muscle to die in his lower right leg, he chose to take it off and replace it with carbon fibre.
“The day I made the decision to have my leg amputated in February 2010 I pulled up the world record list and I said my name will be on this list. I didn’t know when or which event. I knew it was going to happen. I trusted the lord that he would guide that.”
In the days leading up to the race David Prince, who had held the world record coming into the Championships, had predicted that his time of 22.47 would probably fall.
“What did I tell you?” said an exhausted Prince.
“I had no idea about whether I could win gold as what I did at nationals was a surprise as I’m more a 400m runner.
“I didn’t win gold, but it’s nice to set a personal best, I’m happy and I’m very tired.”
On Tuesday night Jerome Singleton will defend his 100m T44 world title and he was pleased to win bronze in the longer distance.
“I really didn’t race as much as I wanted this year but with more races, I’ll be ready to go.
“I thought I did pretty well for the first 100m and then sort of fell apart. If I work harder on that I’ll improve.
“I’ve got great teammates and it’s great to be on the podium with them.”
The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, featuring over 1,000 athletes from nearly 100 countries, runs through until Sunday 28 July. It is the biggest gathering of international athletes since London 2012 and is being streamed each day live via www.ParalympicSport.TV.
Live results can be found at the Lyon 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships website whilst updates and behind the scenes pictures can be found at twitter.com/IPCAthletics and facebook.com/IPCAthletics.