#WorkoutWednesday: Walid Ktila

The Tunisian multi world and Paralympic champion gives an insight in to what makes him the world’s best T34 wheelchair racer. 10 Jun 2015
Walid Ktila

Tunisia's Walid Ktila is one of the biggest rivals of Finland's Henry Manni

ⒸGetty Images

"So you see I like coffee - to be a champion you have to drink four coffees a day!"

Tunisia’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Walid Ktila broke two of his own world records racing in Arbon, Switzerland, last week (Thursday 4 June), clocking 1:40.21 in the 800m T34, and 14.95 in the 100m T34.

The 29-year-old continues to dominate T34 wheelchair racing, having won all four of the events he took part in at the Grand Prix in Dubai in February and again in Tunisia in March. In fact it was a feat he repeated in Nottwil, Switzerland, last month, with wins over 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m.

Here he reveals his ‘Workout Wednesday’ – just what helps him stay the number one in the world.

Walid Ktila’s Workout Wednesday

In the morning I wake up at precisely 07.10 – like clockwork. I have a shower and get ready for the day. Normally at 07.30 I have my breakfast - a chocolate milk drink, and bread and cheese. This is the breakfast that gives me the most energy!

At 08.00 I get in my car and drive to training, which is about 15 kilometres away. I live in an apartment in Manouba, a small, calm city in the north of the country. I live with my parents – my mother is a very good cook. Normally in Tunisia the best cooking involves cous cous, but I love peas too. My habit is to have a small black coffee before training. This helps me be ready for the day.

At training I always begin with a brief meeting with my coach, and we discuss the work to be done that day. Normally I know what my programme will involve, but there may sometimes be some small changes, depending on how I am feeling.

I don’t normally listen to music during training – many athletes do that, but it’s not for me. I train together with T54 racer Yassine Gharbi. Our session lasts anything up to two hours. I have to finish the work in the training programme that has been set, so sometimes it is one hour, sometimes much more.

Normally we have nine training sessions per week. There is a plan for everything – a plan for each day. It could be endurance, speed, starts, the curve - we work on different things across the week.

When we finish I take a shower, have another coffee, then it is time for lunch. There is a restaurant not far away from the stadium for the elite athletes. You can find everything there, but I always go for the same sort of thing: I always take salad and pasta, and I eat bananas too.

I don’t really rest after lunch – there isn’t a lot of time before I need to get back to the stadium for the afternoon session, if we have one scheduled. It may be fitness, or track work. It depends what our coach has planned.

I finish my day at 17.00, sometimes later. I love rap music, and we have some great Tunisian rap artists that I enjoy listening to in my car on the journey home. When I get back I eat a small snack, then I go out for a coffee with some friends. So you see I like coffee - to be a champion you have to drink four coffees a day!

I return home around 21.00 and take dinner. I might eat salad, or something typically Tunisian, but nothing heavy - maybe even a sandwich. I might spend some time on the internet, or watching television.

I also might talk with my girlfriend if I haven’t seen her after training. Normally she visits my house after training each day. She helps my mother prepare food. We don’t live together yet; hopefully we will get married after Rio.

I like to watch television to relax, or if there is something interesting to look at online I will do that. I like to check the rankings, and keep myself up to date with all the competitions around the world, and what my rivals are up to. Sometimes I also look up new information on wheelchair racing and means of training and enhancing performance. I love wheelchair racing, and I like to have as much information about this as possible.

Then it’s time to go to the other world – to sleep. I have no problems sleeping as soon as I put my head on the pillow.

Ktila will be hoping to retain his world titles at October’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar. For more information click here.