Malta’s blade runner gears up for crucial Paris games

Antonio Flores is training 12 hours a week as he prepares for the competition in Paris that will determine whether he qualifies for the Tokyo 2020 paralympic games

Antonio Flores (right) showing Paolo Catalfamo his latest acquisition — a sprint specific blade, which he has been training with and which he hopes will help secure him a spot in Tokyo 2020
Antonio Flores (right) showing Paolo Catalfamo his latest acquisition — a sprint specific blade, which he has been training with and which he hopes will help secure him a spot in Tokyo 2020

Antonio Flores is training 12 hours a week as he prepares for this month’s Paris competition where he hopes to qualify for Tokyo’s paralympics next year.

Flores is Malta’s only blade runner and at the Paris games he will have to meet the stipulated timings to qualify for the 100m and 200m races.

“Training is going well and I’m feeling very motivated and happy to be going on this journey,” he said, as he prepared for the important competition being held between 26 and 31 August.

Flores was joined for his training session at the Malta Amateur Athletic Association track in Marsa by Paolo Catalfamo, GlobalCapital chairman. Catalfamo was an athlete himself.

GlobalCapital is the sole sponsor of Flores’s trip to classify in Paris, after Catalfamo saw the young athlete’s crowdfunding appeal in the media and came forward to back him.

“I could see myself at his age. I had dedicated my life to running and sacrificed a lot for it… Antonio has an even bigger challenge, and I was deeply touched by his strength and determination not only to train every day, but also to collect funds to make his dream possible,” Catalfamo said.

During their meeting, Flores also showed Catalfamo his latest acquisition — a sprint specific blade, which he has been training with and which he hopes will help secure him a spot in Tokyo 2020.

GlobalCapital chairman Paolo Catalfamo (left) presents Antonio Flores with the financial support he needs to realise his Olympic dreams and take part in this month’s classification process in Paris
GlobalCapital chairman Paolo Catalfamo (left) presents Antonio Flores with the financial support he needs to realise his Olympic dreams and take part in this month’s classification process in Paris

Flores, who was born with clubfoot, said: “Having a blade which is comfortable, powerful and efficient not only helps me from the physical aspect but also boosts my morale and confidence.”

Flores also had a message of encouragement to his supporters: “Persevere and have faith in your potential. We are more capable than we think we are — don’t set yourself boundaries.”

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