Double Paralympic champion Walid Ktila capped an impressive few days at the 5th Fazza International Athletics Championships with a fourth gold in as many events on the final night.
Ktila, who had won the 100m, 200m and 400m T34 events in the first three days of the Championships, topped the podium for a fourth time by winning the 800m on Tuesday, clocking 1:55.49 minutes, 0.43 seconds ahead of second-placed Japanese Jun Hiromichi.
The 27-year-old, who won the gold in 100m and 200m T34 at the London Games last year, says he’s happy with his performances in Dubai and his eyes on this summer’s IPC Athletics World Championships.
“I’m happy with my timings in Dubai because they are all qualifying timings for the World Championships, so that’s obviously a good thing,” Ktila told Sport360°.
“This is my fourth time at the Fazza Championships. It attracts athletes from all around the world, it’s well-organised and it gives me the necessary level of competition I need to evaluate myself.”
Ktila says he has been competing in athletics for the past 11 years in what he calls “a long love story with the sport”. He explains how he looks up to Switzerland’s 14-time Paralympic champion Heinz Frei and is determined to add more medals to his tally in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
When asked whether his motivation had wavered at all following his impressive double in London last year, Ktila said: “If you love your sport, then you will never have a problem with motivation. In my case, I still want to do more. This Fazza competition is one step in my preparation programme for this summer’s World Championships.
“I’m not sure which events they will choose for me for Rio 2016 but of course I’d love to add gold medals in the longer distances, the 400m and 800m, now that I’ve already won the 100m and 200m.”
The UAE team also enjoyed a successful Fazza Championships as they finished the competition with a total of three gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze medals.
The Championships also saw 12 new world records with UAE’s Mariam Matroushi setting two of them, in the discus and javelin F47.
Scott Jones broke two world records in the F32 men’s discus and men’s shot put and the 15-year-old Brit admits it was a huge surprise.
“I really didn’t expect it. I’ve been throwing these distances during training so I guess all my hard work is paying off,” said Jones.
Jones’ team-mate Lee Whiteley also set two new world records in the 100m and 200m T35 on the first two days of the Championships. Whiteley was in destructive form at the Dubai Police Officers Club, as his time of 11.60 seconds in the T35 100m took 0.69secs off Yang Sen’s 2008 world record. He reproduced this in the 200m, cutting Iurii Tsaruk’s 2012 mark by 1.07secs.
The Fazza Championships served as the opening round of the inaugural IPC Athletics Grand Prix Series, which will move on to Beijing next month.