“I started competing in the discus last year only. I like to challenge myself."
With just a few days to go to the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, Italy’s visually impaired Assunta Legnante is ready to prove that she is the athlete to beat in the F11 women’s shot put.
On Saturday 13 July, the 2012 Paralympic Champion set a season’s best of 16.43 metres at the Ascoli Meeting 2013, Italy, showing the world how her determination and focus has not changed from the London Paralympic Games.
Her throw was just 31cm off from her previous world record of 16.74m and puts a mark on the road to gold in Lyon where she will try to improve her own result.
“Ascoli was a perfect test in view of the upcoming World Championships, I just wanted to check my physical preparation and I am happy. The shot put event in Lyon will be a battle against myself.”
The 'Little Cannon' (“Cannoncina”), as she is called by friends for the power of her right arm, has dominated the shot put event in 2012, but Lyon will be her first world Championships.
“Being in my first Worlds is already a big motivation for me but the London 2012 spirit is still there to give me a boost.”
In Lyon, Legnante will also fight for the podium in the F11-F12 discus throw. Despite placing eighth in London 2012 with 30.81m, this season has started off well with a world leading mark of 35.08m obtained in March at the Italian championships in Ancona.
“I started competing in the discus last year only. I like to challenge myself. In Lyon the discus event will be tougher with the competition of the Chinese athletes who are able to throw over 40m, but it will be much more fun with two classes F11-F12 competing together. At the moment I’m throwing between 32-34 metres so I have hopes to get a spot on the podium.”
Looking at the team’s expectations, the 35-year-old athlete shows her confidence in the small but strong Italian team competing in Lyon.
“I expect a lot from everyone after the success in London, starting from our veteran and captain (Alvise) De Vidi to our “little one” Oxana Corso. Last year we all contributed to bring a bit of visibility to the Paralympic Movement in Italy and in the world, so with even more motivation we are all focused to achieve great results.”
In her career, Legnante is one of the few athletes to have competed in able-bodied major competitions, winning the European shot put indoor title in 2007 and still holding the Italian indoor record with 19.20m.
The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships kick-off this Friday, 19 July. Featuring around 1,100 athletes from 98 countries, it will be the biggest gathering of international competitors since London 2012.