IPC Athletics World Championships
19-29 July

Oliveira excited by Leeper rivalry at Lyon 2013

Brazilian Paralympic champion Alan Fonteles Oliveira is targeting world records in France at the IPC Athletics World Championships. 16 Jul 2013
Men's 100m T43 World Records infographic

The Men's 100m T43 world record has improved dramatically in recent years.

“It’s such an honour to arrive here in Lyon as the fastest man in my class and with a Paralympic gold medal. I’m so proud. What I’m trying to do now is concentrate more and go faster each time I race.”

Brazil’s Alan Fonteles Oliveira, the world’s fastest leg amputee, is relishing going head-to-head with American Blake Leeper at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France and believes the separation of the T43 and T44 classes for the first time at a major event over 100m and 200m underlines the growing strength in-depth of para-athletics.

Oliveira became a global superstar at London 2012 when he won 200m T43/44 gold and followed it up last month by running 10.77 seconds to break the 100m T43 world record.

Now the 20-year old-Brazilian is preparing to win his first world title but knows that to do so he will have to beat his close rival Leeper, the previous joint 100m T43 world record holder, and an athlete he has a lot of admiration for.

“He’s a great athlete,” Oliveira told Paralympic.org of Leeper. “Even when he first performed in 2010 we knew he was going to be a good athlete. I believe it’s going to be good for both of us here in Lyon. I hope it’s a good competition for both of us.

“The fact that the classes are split now shows the strength of each class. It’s good for both classes and for the new athletes coming through.”

At the 2011 World Championships, Oliveira took 100m T43/44 bronze ahead of Leeper who finished fifth. Last year the Brazilian took Paralympic gold in the 200m, however 23 year old Leeper got the better of him in the 100m and 400m T43/44 events.

In Lyon, Oliveira is targeting four medals, and knows that now he is Paralympic champion and 100m world record holder there is a greater expectation on his shoulders.

Oliveira said: “I’m training to do my best here. If I get gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay I’ll be extremely happy. But I have to take it day by day.

“I have more pressure today than other competitions but it does not scare me. If I do what I know I can do then I can deal with the pressure. I’m ready to compete and do everything I do in training.”

It is just over one month ago that Oliveira broke the 100m T43 world record at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany and admits his time was a bit of a shock.

“I was training just to win in Berlin and arrive in Lyon in my best form,” explained Oliveira.

“I was not expecting to break the record in Berlin. I just ran very strong and it just happened.

“Of course I think about breaking records all of the time but when I crossed the line and saw the time it was just amazing, I could not believe it. It was incredible.

“It’s such an honour to arrive here in Lyon as the fastest man in my class and with a Paralympic gold medal. I’m so proud. What I’m trying to do now is concentrate more and go faster each time I race.”

Oliveira agrees with Richard Browne, USA’s London 2012 100m T44 silver medallist, that by Rio 2016 the world’s fastest leg amputees will be running 10.50 seconds and says a world record in Lyon is a possibility.

“Only by training and competing can I see how fast I can go. I don’t have any limits so who knows how fast I can go,” said Oliveira.

“First of all when I go to the track I think about winning the race. However, if I win the race and win a World Championship gold, a medal I don’t have, plus a world record then it would be a perfect day.”

Oliveira and Leeper will first go head-to-head on Sunday (21 July) evening in the 200m final. Two days later (23 July) they will locks horns over 100m, whilst on Friday (26 July) they will compete in the 400m alongside T44 athletes.

The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships opens this Friday (19 July) and will feature over 1,100 athletes from 97 countries. It is the biggest gathering of international athletes since London 2012 and will be streamed live from Saturday morning 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.

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