“Our category is such a competitive one at the moment so you can’t only count on one or two guys performing.”
South African world champion Kevin Paul is hoping that he and his teammates can take the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships by storm from Monday (13 July), as hundreds of athletes begin to arrive in the host city of Glasgow, Great Britain.
The reigning men’s breaststroke SB9 title holder heads into the tournament as the world number one, and looks well placed to defend his title this summer.
But he revealed it is not only himself that he is confident about, but also his fellow South Africans.
“We have a very motivated squad this year with a mix of guys and girls that have competed on the international stage before.” Paul said. “There are a few that will be competing in their first World Championships as well. It will be a great opportunity for the younger generation to gain experience and make sure that South Africa’s proud Paralympic legacy can continue once the older generation moves on.”
The 24 year-old will be accompanied by a series of esteemed swimmers, with the likes of Hendri Herbst and Achmat Hasseim looking to repeat previous podium performances.
For many, Glasgow 2015 also represents the last major test ahead of next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Paul is one of those who sees it as a huge stepping stone.
“I'm looking at it as a big step towards the ultimate goal which is Rio next year,” he said. “We have had a solid year of training and have been working on a lot of new things since I made the move to a new squad and coach at the beginning of last year.
“I'm now training under Graham Hill and Dellon Dannhouser who are also Chad Le Clos’ coaches.”
Glasgow 2015 will be Paul’s third World Championships. So far in his career, the S9 champion has picked up one gold and a silver, and hopes to add to his tally this time around. But he knows that if that is to happen, he will have to beat some formidable opponents.
“Our category is such a competitive one at the moment so you can’t only count on one or two guys performing,” Paul commented. “I feel that anyone that makes the final will have a good chance of putting together a solid performance. But training in an environment with a strong group of able bodied swimmers has matured me as a swimmer and I'm looking forward to seeing the result in Glasgow.”
If Paul is to achieve further greatness, he revealed that having confidence will be a big reason behind it:
“Confidence is the biggest building block to success. I've trusted my coaches and the process up until now. A good performance in Glasgow will only confirm that we are on track.”
The 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships will feature around 580 athletes from nearly 70 countries and will be one of the biggest qualification opportunities for Rio 2016.
Tickets are still available at the Glasgow 2015 ticket website and all seven days of action will be shown live at Glasgow2015.com alongside live results between 13-19 July.
Fans can also follow @IPCSwimming on Twitter and Facebook and Paralympics Instagram for behind-the-scenes updates and pictures.