Italy’s Alessandro Tomaiuolo is relishing the prospect of competing at his home International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (INAS) European Half Marathon Championships in Udine where he is targeting his first major medal.
The race, which takes place on Sunday (17 September), will be contested as part of the prestigious Udine Marathon.
Tomaiuolo is hoping to better his sixth place finish from the 2016 World Championships.
“I wish to do better to improve my last INAS World Championships and to get a medal in the next European Championships,” he said.
But the 22-year-old is aware he will face a stacked field including two Portuguese teammates who enter in great form.
“I think that [European champion Paulo] Pineiro and [world champion Jose] Azevedo at the moment are the top athletes in the world and they are on another level,” Tomaiulo said. “I don’t think I can reach their results, but I’ll try to do my best. I’ll try to run with them and then, in the last 5km, try to sprint.”
For the Italian, the opportunity to run in front of his home fans is something to savor.
“Competing at home is exciting, I hope to have a great support, they will help me in the race,” he said. “I’ll compete thinking to my people in Manfredonia [his home town]. They’ll expect a great performance from me. I want to get a medal.”
A fan of British Olympic champion distance runner Mo Farah, Tomaiuolo has only been running competitively for two years and is a great prospect. He says that he was attracted to the sport because of “Pain to reach gain”.
“Sport is my life, through it I’m famous in my city and everyone respect me. Without sport, I can’t imagine my future,” he said.
Tomaiuolo will join compatriots Alex Holtz and Fabrizio Vallone on the start line.