Heinrich Popow — Seize the challenge

Sport is the most important thing in my life. Sport is what makes me who I am. No matter whether victory or defeat – I don’t give up. I want to encourage other people with my success and show them that there is always an opportunity, also in the biggest setback.

Sport isn’t just my life, it defines my everyday life as well. There’s training, weight training or physiotherapy several times a day. When I’m at the hall or on the track, I just can’t get enough. At Bayer 04 Leverkusen, I train with the women’s heptathlon team – six days a week. When it comes to integration, this club is a real pioneer: athletes with and without disabilities all train together here for many years.

Every new medal motivates me. And each one gets its place in my collection. The successes I’ve had in recent years: world record on 100 metres in 2013, in 2012 Gold for the sprint and Bronze for the 200 metres and the 4x100 metres relay; in 2011 I took double Gold for the sprint and long jump at the World Championships in Christchurch; in 2008 Silver in Beijing for the 100 metres; in Athens 2004 Bronze for the 100 metres, 200 metres and the long jump.

For me, running at the Paralympics is my greatest dream: the athletes, the atmosphere, the fans. It’s a feeling that you can hardly express in words, you simply have to have been there. I’m already looking forward to meeting lots of old friends in Rio – and, of course, to getting into the starting blocks alongside the world’s best athletes.