Malta’s very own and only blade runner, Żurrieq Wolves Athletic Club athlete Antonio Flores, coached by Kevin Galea, represented Malta at the World Para Athletics Gran Prix held in Paris, France, between June 9 and 10.
Competing in the T64 men’s class, alongside other single-leg below the knee amputees, Antonio registered a seasonal best in the 100m dash, clocking a time of 13.54s.
Antonio is no newcomer to international Para Athletics, being Malta’s first Paralympian since the 1980s and having competed at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
Active in athletics since 2004, Flores underwent a lower body amputation in 2017 and his commitment and passion towards the sport has only grown stronger.
Flores’s participation in the Paris Grand Prix marked a remarkable comeback to the international competitive scene following a season-ending injury suffered back in April 2021.
That resulted in a rupture to his achilles and an unfortunate end to his hopes of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – after having been awarded a wild card invitation to compete at the Games and having come within fractions of attaining a minimum qualifying standard time in the months ahead of the Games.
Following medical interventions and months of intensive rehabilitation, Flores pulled through with resilience and perserverance, with his mind steadfast on returning to the track and working towards his next goals, showing unbounded commitment towards Para Athletics.
In a statement, the Malta Paralympic Committee extended its congratulations to Flores for this feat, noting that this comeback to competitive Para Athletics demonstrates the holistic and professional preparation that Para Athletes undergo, encompassing both physical and mental preparation and is a model example for other athletes.
The World Para Athletics Paris Grand Prix was the fourth stop of the 2022 World Para Athletics Grand Prix season and will be the host city of next year’s World Para Athletics World Championships and the 2024 Paralympic Games.
The Paris Grand Prix, saw no less than 700 Para athletes from 57 countries competing at the Charlety Stadium, the same venue that will host the 2023 Worlds.
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