3rd June 2018


The T54 800m world record fell today at the Swiss nationals meet in Nottwil, with Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s Richard Chiassaro (coach: Jenni Banks) lowering the mark to a staggering 1:30.35.

Leading from the very start, the Harlow athlete got stronger and stronger throughout the race, pushing clear of the field to take some notable scalps including Marcel Hug and Yassine Gharbi, to end a stunning week on another positive note.

On the 800m world record, Chiassaro said:

“Me and Jen (Jenni Banks – coach) had a plan – we initially went out to try and go sub 1:30. I took the lead early on and managed to kick and make up a gap from the others. I kept pushing and I managed to go one second under the world record; I’m delighted with it.

“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.”

On whether he knew he was on for a world record in the race:

“I looked underneath my wheel and I could see the gap back to Marcel (Hug). (Daniel) Romanchuk came with me but I managed to pull away from him.

“I hold the British record now in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m; European record in the 400m and 1500m and the world record in the 800m, so it’s been a good week’s work.”

His 400m on Thursday saw him go sub 45 seconds for the first time, clocking 44.39, and that record came after some confidence boosting displays from the World Para Athletics Grand Prix last weekend.

On his targets coming into the Swiss series, Chiassaro added:

“I wanted to go into the competition and test myself against Yassine Gharbi because I know he has a high top speed like me. He only beat me once this week and that was in the first 200m. I’ve beaten him in the 200m, 400m and now the 800m, so it goes to show my top speed is very strong.

“I had a side-by-side race with Gharbi earlier this week and I won, so after that race, I got more and more confident.”

On his 400m European record earlier in the week, he said:

“The conditions for the 400m was perfect. The world record was lowered earlier this year so I thought there may be a chance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with the sub 45 time, it shows the progress I’m making.”

The world medallist is quick to show his thanks for the support of his coach, Jenni Banks, for his strong form.

The training camps with Jenni have been awesome. We have been working on getting off the line faster. I have great top speed but the area that could make me a better athlete was to improve my pick-up at the start. The other thing we’ve worked on is hitting the bends at a quicker speed. My chair is quite narrow so I ended up rolling and crashing a couple of times, so we made some changes so I don’t have to hold back on the bends.”

Not only did Chiasaro have an eye on his own performances over the last week. He was also acting as coach for his group of athletes competing in Nottwil

On the logistics of coaching his athletes to PBs & ER at the event, he commented:

“We set up two tents so I could have somewhere away from my athletes before I race so I could be fully focused on my race. But it gave me a chance to go over to them when I’d finish. They did really well. A few got PBs – one of my T33 athletes, Martin Pistorious – got a European record in the 1500m so he did really well.”

For now, Chiassaro has eyes on the WPA European Championships in Berlin where he has titles to defend and perhaps records to lower even further.

“Now it is about having a couple of days off to recover and then we’ll be back into training to be in the best shape for the Europeans in August.”