HARLOW wheelchair athlete Richard Chiassaro achieved great success this summer by breaking the world record for the T54 men’s 800m at a competition in Switzerland.
Richard, 36, who was born with a spinal defect called spina bifida, broke the record previously held by Swiss athlete Marcel Hug by just under a second with his time of one minute 30.35 seconds. Other members of the Harlow Wheelchair Racing Squad also had successes at the meeting on June 3.
He said “I just kept pushing out there,” and acknowledged that “there was always the risk of going out hard and leading the others to a world record instead of me, but I opened up a margin which I managed to hold on to.”
Previously Chiassaro was not selected for the London 2012 Paralympics, but qualified for Rio 2016 and narrowly missed out on a medal by finishing fourth in the 400m. He cites competing at the 2016 games as his biggest achievement in sport, and at the end of that year was ranked top in Great Britain over 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m.
Richard now uses his experience to help others by volunteering as a coach at Harlow Athletics Club and visiting schools across Essex to “help inspire the younger generation.”