Focused Mark Rohan has sights already fixed on Rio 2016

Regaining his World title would be stepping stone to ultimate goal

Mark Rohan (centre) in Dublin yesterday with paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane and CP footballer Gary Messett. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Mark Rohan (centre) in Dublin yesterday with paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane and CP footballer Gary Messett. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

With the World Championships less than two months away, double Paralympic gold medallist Mark Rohan barely has an hour that isn’t mapped out this summer, not to mind a day. Rohan, who will go to Greenville in South Carolina in August looking to regain the title he lost last year to Italian hand-cyclist Luca Mazzone, was in Dublin yesterday laying out his preparations to the media.

“From now until the World Championships is mental,” said Rohan, world champion in 2010 and 2011. “This week I’m heading down to Limerick for three weeks to stay in the altitude house on campus in UL. Then out to Spain for three or four weeks. We’ve a race at the end of July just outside Madrid, then I go to Sierra Nevada near Granada for altitude training before heading off to the Worlds. It’s a busy time.

“Second is never bad in a World Championships but the fact that I did come second gave me massive motivation coming back this year. I knew that I had 69 seconds to claw back on [Mazzone]. I had a few injuries last year that I’m recovered from. This year I have 115 hours extra done. I’m stronger, I’m putting out better power. And I beat the Italian guy in his home race a few weeks ago. So we’ll see, America should go well hopefully.”

Vital time

This is a vital time in the cycle of every Olympic and Paralympic athlete. Two years out from Rio may seem like a lot but work missed now will count against him later on. So although Greenville looms, it’s not the be all and end all for Rohan.

“Everything we do this year is the build-up to Rio. We can afford to get things wrong this year. I would love to win the World Championships again but everything is aimed at Rio.

“In saying that, if I don’t finish in the top three at the World Championships, then my funding gets cut from €40,000 to €20,000. That focuses the mind big time. If you can’t get the €40,000 funding, then you can’t train full-time. So I need to keep it up.”

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