He may have everything stacked against him, but St Mary’s University athlete Ted Ntibazonkiza has his sights firmly trained on the ultimate goal — representing Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
After attending the same secondary school and the same university as Mo Farah, can Ted take his career to the next level and emulate his idol on the world’s largest stage?
The promising 800 and 1500 metre runner is confident that he can make the necessary improvements, despite suffering a series of debilitating injuries over the past few years, which have kept him away from the track for a prolonged period of time.
In addition to hampering him physically, these injuries have affected his confidence. Ted stopped trusting his body — the thought of re-injuring himself constantly haunted him.
“I had a stress fracture in my shin. Ever since then, I’ve been scared to go the distance,” Ted told the Sports Gazette.
Ted needs to overcome his fear and he believes now is the time to turn his career around. For the first time since his injury, Ted will benefit from a rigorous training program. Over the course of the season he will be able to gauge his true level, and he will able to determine whether his dream of making the Olympics is alive and well, or simply too far-fetched.
“I’m working on my strength, my power, and my endurance. This year I’m not frightened at all. I’m actually going really well in the distance.
“At the moment I’m on 55 to 60 miles a week, but before I was on 30. It’s a big increase.”
Ted’s immediate goal is to bring down his personal best to see how fast he can run when healthy. To make it to the summer Olympics or the World Championships in the upcoming years, Ted will need to run the 800 meters in around 1:45.00. At the moment, Ted is running close to his personal best of 1:55.93, which he ran at the age of 18, prior to his injury.
“I’ve been going close to my personal best,” he said, “but this year so far is the fittest I’ve ever been in my life. Next season I really want to bring my time down. I know I’ll take a lot off that time.”
He will certainly need to make dramatic improvements if he wants a shot at his ultimate goal. However, if his training gains are anything to go by, then those improvements will become apparent when indoor competitions begin in the new year.
Co-written by Maria Lopes
Featured photograph/Ted Ntibazonkiza