University of Johannesburg Paralympian Andrea Dalle Ave is set to take on his own T31 African long-jump record when he represents South Africa at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, at the end of October.
Dalle Ave is in top form this year after breaking his 2012 London Paralympics record of 6.02m by three centimetres at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in April and setting a new continental record in the process.
“That was exactly the confidence boost I needed,” said Dalle Ave, who already has his sites set on next year’s Paralympics in Rio.
“My last two years have been up and down with injuries, so for us to get that monkey off my back was a huge moment.
“It was very emotional, one moment I will never forget. So if I can bring all of that into the Doha tournament, we are expecting great things.”
The 22-year-old said his preparations for world champs were on track and he was confident that he was exactly where he should be at this stage of the build-up.
“I’m feeling strong, I can feel my rhythm is there and my confidence is growing by the day.”
According to Dalle Ave, his goal going into the tournament will be to break the African record.
“If I jump that, then I should be in medal contention. For this competition, any colour medal for me will be perfect in my build-up to Rio next year,” he added.
Dalle Ave said that although there would be a number of strong athletes he would be competing against, with long jump the competition was always wide open.
“But if things go as predicted my two biggest competitors will be Chermen Kobesov from Russia and the current world record holder Mateus Evangelista from Brazil,” he said.
He said that he and coach Emmarie Fouché were always training with one eye on Rio.
“That is definitely still the ultimate goal. We want to bring home the gold, as well as a potential world record.
“But in athletics a whole lot can change in one year. That said, these might be big goals, but goals I feel are in my reach,” he said.
Dalle Ave said that as a big competition approached, it was vital to have 100 per cent confidence in one’s coach.
“We obviously prepare the body to where it needs to be physically, but for us even more important than that is the mental state.”
Fouché praised her protégé, who was born with cerebral palsy.
“He is so talented and committed and really deserves to succeed. All that is controllable is on track,” she said.
Dalle Ave has had a strong season so far participating in the various IPC Grand Prix competitions and winning his category at the Italian Open Championships in Grosseto as well as the Berlin Open in Germany.
“I won the Berlin Open by one centimetre, so it was a tense outing,” he said.
The world champs, which are organised by the International Paralympic Committee, take place from October 22 to 31.