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i'll be back, says arnu

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Peacock, Browne, Fourie

T44 100m Paralympic bronze medallist Arnu Fourie is ready to get back to his best after an injury-hit 2013.

The South African star went head-to-head with T44 100m world record holder Richard Browne at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow International Match last month, and despite finishing behind the American, he was quick to acknowledge the UK’s ongoing commitment to para-athletics.

“It was very exciting to compete in Glasgow and it was the first indoor event I’ve competed in. For us as Paralympic or disabled athletes to be integrated is exciting to see because I don’t think the Paralympic movement is quite strong enough to host huge events and sell out stadiums on their own.

“It’s phenomenal for me to see in the UK how disabled athletes are profiled after London and just like the able-bodied athletes. We need personalities and people to take that torch and make it grow even more.

“The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games was phenomenal last year, but I don’t think outside the UK there’s that same demand that will see venues selling out. For us to be involved in able-bodied events like Glasgow and Birmingham is brilliant, and we hope it happens more and more. If more events are hosted like this, we will be able to host our own events.”

After the sub-11 performances from Paralympic and world gold medallist Jonnie Peacock and Richard Browne last year, the 28 year old is confident that he can throw a spanner in the works by proving that there is a third contender within the event.

“The biggest thing is to focus on myself - I need to prove that I can get back in there in the mix. 2012 was an exciting year, but that’s passed and we need to make new highlights, set new goals and one of those things is to get back in there with the likes of Jonnie and Richard. It would be nice for people to believe in me again, but believing in myself is the biggest thing. It’s all about running some proper times and I know I’m capable. I’m injury-free and now it’s all about making sure it’s not a two-horse race.

“As an athlete, you believe in yourself, you have confidence, but you have to see it as well with the times coming down. It’s about bringing the times down and feeling as good as I do in training and go through 2014 without any injury setbacks. Then it’s all about going into 2015 and the World Championships and making sure I’m in there with a chance.”

Despite only being 28, Fourie is one of the statesmen within the event, but is keen to draw from his experience of running against the world’s best athletes in making sure he doesn’t get left behind.

“From the day I began running and going up against the fastest guys in the world and people asked me whether it was bad running against the world record holder and I said no way! I would love to run against that person every single time, because that’s the bunny I need to chase. It doesn’t help me getting out of South Africa and realising there’s a whole big world out there and people are running quicker. It’s a huge privilege to be a part of this huge event and one of the main events of para-sport. I just need to make sure I’m the main man within that!”