Petrucio Ferreira hopes to lower 200m world record

The Brazilian starts his season at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, a place that holds special memories. 13 Apr 2017
Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos won the gold medal in the T45/46/47 - Men's 100m - Athletics

Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos - Rio 2016

ⒸWagner Meier for the IPC

“I think so and I hope I can lower the record even more in the 200m, which is the event I like the most."

Brazil’s new track hero Petrucio Ferreira plans to conquer the world this year – and that means starting with a winning performance at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, which takes place from 21-23 April.

Ferreira had his home crowd in raptures seven months ago when he sprinted home to gold in the 100m T47, breaking the world record for the second time in two days with a time of 10.57.

It was a record that had previously stood for 24 years – which made the 20-year-old’s achievement all the more remarkable.

“When it happened I couldn't believe I had broken a 24-year-old record in less than three years in this sport,” admitted Ferreira, who only took up Para athletics in 2013.

“I knew I had a great preparation in the lead-up to the Games. The worst part of it, all the training and sacrifices, I had done. So I knew I just had to go out there and compete. I was pretty confident.

“When I got back home I had that feeling that I had gotten the job done. I had executed everything I had practiced. That's such a rewarding feeling.”

The teenager had seen off both the former world champion Yohansson Nascimento – his Brazilian teammate - and Poland’s reigning world champion Michal Derus. Now, having taken those two scalps, he’s ready for more. Can he go faster?

“I think so and I hope I can lower the record even more in the 200m, which is the event I like the most,” he added.

Sao Paulo already holds special memories for Ferreira – two years ago he broke the 200m T47 world record there, before going on to win double gold at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.

“This year I feel like I am ready to give my best in the competitions to come. I know there is a deep field of athletes in my class who can beat me if I don't give my best effort.”

Having missed the 2015 World Championships through injury, this July’s World Para Athletics Championships in London, Great Britain, are high on his agenda.

But first he needs to ensure selection for the Brazilian team – a goal he has set himself at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

“The Grand Prix is especially important because it is our first official competition of 2017. So it is going to be essential for us to get the feeling of where we are at in terms of preparation,” he added.

With both the 100m and 200m world records to his name, along with the Paralympic and Parapan Am titles, it’s clear he is the man to take on the mantle from fellow Brazilian Nascimento, who made his senior international debut more than a decade ago, winning six Paralympic and eight world medals along the way.

But Ferreira is quick to acknowledge the respect he holds for his teammate.

He explained: “It is definitely an honour, but I don't feel like I replaced him. I feel like I'm blessed that I can compete side by side with him and learn from his experience.”

Still, it is Ferreira who will be the man to watch at next week’s home Grand Prix. Nascimento will join him on the start line, along with five other Brazilians.

While Ferreira’s ambitions are clear, he still can’t quite believe the success he has had since he started running three years ago, adding that “even in my best dreams, never had I thought I would achieve this much so quickly.”

There is surely plenty more to come.