“I’m aiming at Rio 2016 because of our amazing team and that it would be my tenth Games in a row.”
Sweden’s 17-time Paralympic champion Jonas Jacobsson has confirmed that he will compete at Rio 2016 – his tenth consecutive Paralympic Games.
Speculation about whether Jacobsson would go to Rio was rife following the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships. Despite winning two gold medals, the Swede refused to be drawn on his attendance at the next Paralympic Games.
However, it seems that the Paralympic great has been tempted back because of the benefit it will bring to the team as a whole.
“First and foremost that I still feel that it’s fun, but also that I believe that Sweden have an amazing shooting team with several new top athletes that probably will be making their first Paralympic Games in Rio” he said. “I hope that they can find a support in me and benefit from my routine during that time”
Incredibly, Jacobsson has won a gold medal at every Games since 1980. In that time he has become one of his country’s most recognisable and loved athletes.
The 49-year-old said there were several reasons for the delay in his decision, not least because he wanted to be absolutely sure he was still capable of challenging the best in the field for medals.
He said: “I felt that I had to make sure that my health was good enough, and that I wanted to make sure I’ll have that spark and motivation that is absolute necessary.”
However Jacobsson does admit that his competitive spirit combined with the feat of shooting at 10 Paralympic Games was also a draw. Despite making it to the top of the podium at every single edition, the man who remembers shooting at paper targets attached to a wall in the early days of the sport is still modest about his chances.
“I’m aiming at Rio 2016 because of our amazing team and that it would be my tenth Games in a row” he said. “We’ll have to see. With the marvellous competitors in today’s shooting and the new competition rules for finals anything can happen, it’s impossible to say really.”
Jacobsson, like all other shooters, has three chances in 2015 to win quota places for his country for Rio 2016.
From 10-14 July, athletes will gather in Osijek, Croatia, for the IPC Shooting World Cup. Another World Cup will follow from 15-19 September in Sydney, Australia and then in the USA in Fort Benning from 3-7 November.