"Training, training and more training! No time for relaxing! The only goal I have is a medal in PyeongChang 2018."
Having led the sitting biathlon World Cup rankings for most of the season, Taras Rad might be slightly disappointed to have finished second behind Germany’s Martin Fleig.
But given he finished tenth in his debut year the season before, it is a remarkable improvement for the Ukrainian.
“Last season was good for me, though I also had bad moments. But our mistakes make us stronger in the future,” he said.
Despite the disappointing end, last season had plenty of highlights for Rad.
“My best races were at the World Championship in Finsterau. I won three silver medals in the individual races. That is a great achievement for me.”
Rad finished second in biathlon and ninth in the cross-country rankings but admits there is still room for improvement.
“I think I’m doing well in biathlon. Therefore I should work harder and focus my attention on cross-country skiing. I’ll try and do my best to improve next season. I hope to finish first in biathlon, but I have strong rivals. Time will tell.”
He is now looking to PyeongChang 2018, and while he would not give away all his training secrets, he did reveal more about the change in mindset for a Paralympic year.
“The Paralympic year differs from other seasons as we work even harder. We focus our trainings on strength-building activities. I won’t reveal all our training secrets but I will say that during the Paralympic year we almost never go home. It’s full of training camps. The only thing we think about is PyeongChang.”
While many athletes will take some time out over the summer months, Rad knows what he needs to do to achieve his goals.
“Training, training and more training! No time for relaxing!” said Rad. “The only goal I have is a medal in PyeongChang 2018. I’m most looking forward to the 15km biathlon.”
He is hoping the success of the Ukrainian team at Rio 2016 will encourage people at home to watch PyeongChang.
“Paralympic sport is becoming more and more popular around the world. More people in Ukraine are aware of Paralympic sport after the great performance of our national team during Rio 2016. Hopefully, everyone is looking forward to the Winter Games now.”
The Paralympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang from 9-18 March 2018.