The GB team co-captain is competing in five events at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Germany
Richard Chiassaro likes to keep busy, which is just as well when you consider the schedule he has ahead of him at the World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin.
Not only is the 36-year-old competing in five events in Germany, he’s also taking on GB team co-captain duties alongside sprinter Libby Clegg and is excited for the action to get under way.
“At major competitions there can be a lot of waiting around once you’ve competed,” explains the wheelchair racer, who won the T54 200m title two years ago in Grosseto as well as silver medals in the 100m, 400m and 800m.
“I like being busy, I like doing things, like repairing some of the athletes’ chairs or maintaining my chair and things like that.
“But now I’ve got the five events, which will be 10 races with the heats – I can’t wait to get started.”
It’s an ambitious programme and Chiassaro’s aims are no less impressive.
“I’d like to medal in every event and there’s two or three events that I think that I can win as well,” says the Harlow-based athlete, who will also be racing the 1500m in Berlin. “I’d like to come away ideally with five gold medals but my more realistic aim will be to medal in every one.”
Chiassaro is certainly in form to give it a good go. He broke the world 800m record with a time of 1:30.35 in Switzerland in June, a record which was further improved just two weeks later by USA’s Daniel Romanchuk at the Arizona Grand Prix, while he has also achieved PBs in the 100m, 200m and 400m this year.
He set a Commonwealth Games 1500m record in qualifying in Australia in April but a puncture in the final put paid to his medal hopes and he finished eighth.
“The 100m has always been my favourite but I’m better at 200m, 400m and 800m,” he says.
“There are four of five guys in the 800m that could win it (in Berlin). You’ve got Marcel Hug, you can never write that man off, there’s Kenny van Weeghel, the Dutch guy, he can knock out a fast time. When I broke that world record in Switzerland, five of us went under the old world record. That shows you the depth in that event.”
Chiassaro started his sporting career as a wheelchair basketball player and his first major athletics success came in 2012 when he won the 100m title at the Paralympic World Cup.
Since then he has gone on to also win 400m bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships in London last summer and is now searching for more consistency ahead of a big couple of years featuring a world championships in Dubai and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
“I know where I’m at now, after Switzerland,” he says. “I’ve got to now do it consistently and the Europeans is the perfect test.”
Also relishing his team captain role, he adds: “There are many new faces on the team which is very encouraging and I have a feeling it is going to be a great championship for the British team. Bring on Berlin!”
» Our ‘Five to follow at the World Para Athletics European Championships’ preview can be found here