This week’s ‘Best & Worst Moments’ comes from top US wheelchair racer Ray Martin, who clinched victory at the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup on Sunday (24 April) – his second consecutive T52 victory at the London marathon in the British capital.
With the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Arizona, USA, taking place in May, the seven-time world champion is now back focussing on the track and his ambitions for Rio 2016. Here he reflects on events four years ago – a year which ended with four Paralympic gold medals at his debut Games.
My worst moment
My worst moment has been driving me since 2012. It was the 100m at the US Trials in Indianapolis that year. Since Guadalajara I had been doing pretty well in all the races except the 100m. But the 100m was definitely my Achilles heel.
The reason for this is (three-time Paralympic champion) Paul Nitz was - is still - a phenomenal 100m athlete. I had raced him eight or nine times in the 100m leading up to US Trials, so we get there and I actually win our final.
I was very excited, and my coach was excited for me because he knew it was my toughest event. Then someone comes on the loudspeaker saying the 100m T52 has to be re-run because the clock broke. That just shattered me completely. I was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve finally overcome this huge obstacle and then I have to re-run this race.’
Sure enough we re-run the race and I lose. That was a really hard moment for me and it lit another fire in me - I needed to work on my starts a little harder, I needed to focus more on the 100m.
My best moment
My best moment was my first gold medal at the Paralympic Games which turned out to be the 100m. I had lost pretty much every 100m I had done that year and of course it was the first event at my first Paralympic Games.
I got the Paralympic record in the heats. That really set the tone for me, I thought ‘I can actually do this, I can beat Paul in the final’. And I did. Standing on the podium for the first time, getting a gold medal, hearing your anthem – it’s something that nothing can compare to. I look back to that 100m and it definitely puts a smile on my face.
It also really helped with my momentum. The next event was the 400m and it wasn’t Paul that was the one to watch, it was Tomoya Ito from Japan. He had the world record at the time, and it was a little intimidating, but I felt a little better about my 400m than I had done about the 100m. Having won the 100m it set the right mind set – ‘I can do this, this is my track’. I won that and then finished with my best event, the 200m which I had a Paralympic record in. it was a really nice progression of events.
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.