Nathan Maguire has proven to himself he can beat the best after securing his maiden senior medal at the World Para Athletics European Championships.
The Chester wheelchair racer arrived in Berlin with more hope than expectation but will leave with both as well as a medal in his luggage, bronze in the T54 200m.
He did so with a familiar face alongside him, pipping fellow Brit and training partner Richard Chiassaro to the line after stopping the clock in 26.05 seconds.
Now with the first piece of silverware secured, there’s no looking back for the 21-year-old – overcoming his own personal obstacle in the process.
“It is the first time I have ever medalled at a major event and to do it in that race as well, which was so jam packed, I knew it was going to be so difficult,” he said. “We have been working on my starts and it paid off.
“It will give me a lot of confidence going into World Championships next year, knowing that I do belong here – if you’re always coming fifth, sixth or seventh, you get it in your head that that is where you are meant to finish.
“This will give me the little bit of confidence that I need to show I can do it. I’ve proven something to myself, for sure.”
Maguire and Chiassaro were training together before flying out to Berlin but their involvement in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark is far from over.
Chiassaro is competing in five events while Maguire returns on Wednesday for the T54 400m final, another chance to return to the European podium.
With one medal already secured a chance to enjoy the event now comes Maguire’s way, safe in the knowledge that his wheelchair racing career is breaking new ground, though he remains keen to play down any inter-team rivalry.
“I tried not to think about the strength of the field too much,” added Maguire, who suffered a spinal cord injury when in his youth.
“Rich and I race so much in Britain, it is the first time I have ever beaten him and I am well happy with that.
“I wouldn’t say I got one over him, it is special because he is one of my friends as well.
“He has always said that if he wants anyone to beat him it would be me and that is quite nice and I’ve done it here at the Europeans, not where no-one can see me.”
“I’d never beaten him before and that was always a block in my head, now I can get over that.”
British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.