By Scott Mills
As the sun sets over the white-sandy beaches of the Copacabana, Great Britain’s Para-athletes have been assembled at the Maracanã Stadium to celebrate what has been their most successful Paralympic games since 1988.
Today, more than a month later, many of those same athletes are just starting to ease their way back into what looks set to be another gruelling winter training schedule.
However, this has not been the case for the Weir Archer Academy’s Mo Jomni.
Ever since the 2016 Paralympic Games brought down its curtain on the 18th September, the 2014 IPC European Gold medallist turned his focus onto his next challenge- the 2017 World Championships in London.
Even though Jomni has had what he refers to as a ‘disappointing’ summer in Brazil, he also believes that it has been a great learning curve and something he can take forward with him in his training for London.
“For me, my first Paralympic Games was one of the most challenging and unexpected experiences.
“I suppose in my head I was expecting a lot of things, like to try and get at least one medal from any of my races,” reflects Jomni.
“I guess making it to the final of the [T53] 400m is a good achievement but it was not one of my goals. However, it was a great learning curve where I got to see and experience a lot of things.”
Since the London-based athlete made his debut for Great Britain back at the 2014 IPC European Championships in Swansea, he has since gone on to win two Gold, two Silver and two Bronze medals at the European level with the most recent coming at the Championships in Grosseto earlier this year.
On the world stage however, Jomni has only claimed a Bronze medal at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Doha, which is an area the Brit believes he needs to improve on if he is to stand out amongst the elite.
“Of course my main target over the next few years is the World Championships in London.
“But for the meantime, the goal right now is to match my mentality with my body and generally improve my all round performance, whether it be the tactical side of racing or getting stronger, faster and more powerful,” Jomni added.
“Ultimately I want to try to go back to that time when I competed in my first international race in 2014 where I was really, really focused.
“If I think about it now I was grounded and I was humble, more humble than I am now.
“I think my target is just to get back on that track again and to prove I am not just a guy who can perform at the European level, but on the World stage as well.”
With the Lisbon half-marathon and track meets in Switzerland and Stoke Mandeville on the horizon in the New Year, the 27 year-old feels that by having a great coach like Jenny Archer MBE, he can improve an awful lot this winter.
“For us [me and Jenny] this winter is ultimately focusing on helping me to get faster and stronger.
“I want to feel the hard work you know. I want to work even harder and she knows that and I am sure she will put me through my paces,” Jomni insists.
“Jen has that mind-set, where it is vital to have a full winters training for all the athletes as long as they stay injury free .I’m sure it would be a learning curve for all of them.
“Our target is to maintain that level of speed and power in my races to compete with the guys at the top and that’s where I want to get to.
“As far as this winter is concerned, I’ll be happy to reach my target which is to achieve as many personal bests as I can.”
So whilst the 2017 World Championships in July will provide Jomni with the chance to once again test himself amongst the elite, it also gives him the chance to win silverware at the stadium that first inspired him to get into the sport.
“For me, the World Championships is my main focus, mainly because it is on home ground.
“It is also where top athletes like David Weir, Usain Bolt, Shelly Woods and Mickey Bushell performed in 2012.
“That was where everyone got inspired and it would be amazing to win a British World Championship medal in my hometown for me to carry through the ages, so that is my target.”