Drahoninsky eyes 3rd consecutive Paralympic podium

7 September 2016
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
The reigning W1 men’s world champion has two medals from two Games.

David Drahoninsky made his Paralympic debut at Beijing 2008 at the age of 26, and won gold. Four years later, in London, he made it back to the Paralympic final but fell to the USA’s Jeff Fabry.

Two Paralympic caps, two individual finals – and two medals: one gold, one silver.

The confident Czech para athlete arrives at Rio 2016 as the undeniable favourite in the W1 men’s competition, keen keen to add to his impeccable Games record in Brazil.

“I want to share what I do best in life, and what I do is archery. So I would like to win a medal and expand my Paralympic collection,” he said.

“Every athlete dreams about gold from the Olympics or Paralympics. But when everyone wants to achieve a goal, you have to be better than your opponent and do more training than your opponent.”

David is the reigning World Archery Para Champion and the reigning world number one in the W1 men’s division – and holds world records for both the ranking round and 15-arrow match.

In the two years preceding the Paralympics in Rio, he’s averaged 9.3 points an arrow in international competition, a whole one-third of a point more than Fabry and Britain’s John Walker, the pair closest to Drahoninsky in arrow-by-arrow consistency.

His journey to becoming a world-leading para archer began at the age of 16.

After returning home tired from taekwondo training and falling asleep, David began sleepwalking and fell off the balcony of the third-floor apartment his family lived in. He broke the last vertebrae in his neck and it left him partially paralysed.

David cannot move his legs and does not have much movement in his left arm. The injury affects approximately 70 percent of the muscles in his body.

Drahoninsky threw his focus into sport.

“Archery is a good teacher for life, and a friend. What you give as an archer, archery will give back to you,” David said.

In Rio, Drahoninsky is odds on to take a third consecutive podium at the Games – but Paralympic gold is not the only prize he has his eye on:

“I met my girlfriend last year in Germany [at the World Archery Para Championships] and she is coming to Rio to support me and I want to ask her, after the competition, a special question – and I hope she says yes.”

The para archery competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games starts on 10 September in the Sambodromo.