Double Paralympic champion Liam Malone says he will use technology to run faster than Olympic legend Usain Bolt within the next three years.
Double-leg amputee Malone won gold in the T44 200m and 400m at Rio 2016.
Jamaican sprinter Bolt, who will retire this summer as an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, set the 100m world record of 9.58 seconds in 2009.
“I’m aiming for 9.4 seconds,” New Zealander Malone, 23, told BBC Radio 5 live.
Malone, who is not competing at the World Para-athletics Championships in London because of injury, believes technological improvements to the blades used by amputee runners will bring down times.
“In the next three years I’ll run faster than Usain Bolt over 100m,” said Malone, who was born without fibula bones and had his legs amputated below the knee when he was 18 months old.
“It won’t be done in the Paralympics, and I’ve no intention of ever racing Usain Bolt or able-bodied people, it’s about racing against their time outside of the rules and regulations that limit technology. That’s what I’m focused on at the moment.
“If you were me and you were bullied as a kid from five to 15, and you had this opportunity to use technology to do something that hasn’t been done before, you’d absolutely want to do it and that’s what I’m doing.”
Malone, who clocked 11.02 as he finished second to Britain’s Jonnie Peacock in the 100m in Rio, believes that in “50 to 100 years’ time” Para-athletics will feature athletes who are “half-robotic, half-human”.
“The point is that artificial bodies improve at a faster rate than the biological body,” he said.
“Until about nine years old, my legs were basically like a pirate’s from the 16th century – wood, rubber, really basic.
“It’s only in the last five to 10 years I’ve had these new forms of technology come through.
“If blades are allowing blade runners to run as fast as able-bodied human beings at this point, what’s it going to look like in 20 years?
“It’s not just in Paralympic sport. Artificial bodies is one of the biggest trends in the world – from dying your hair to using contact lenses to hearing aids to breast implants and fake teeth. It really is the future.
“Human beings love customising things and the human body is the pinnacle of something you can customise.”
Technology is governed by International Paralympic Committee rules – and changes are due to come into force in January that would outlaw the blades used by Malone.
“I’m not sure what the IPC are doing there,” he said. “It would be easier to give everyone access to the same technology.”
Source: BBC Sports