PAUL Blake’s rivals had better make sure they are ready for a tough summer if the Dorchester athlete’s form so far this year is anything to go by.

The world champion and two-time Paralympic Games medallist is “really happy” with how his season is going, but he knows he has to deliver when it matters most.

Blake hopes to strike gold at the IPC European Championships in August and is looking to use a meeting in Watford this weekend to lay down a marker over 400m.

Fast times in training have given the 24-year-old the belief that a new personal best could be around the corner, with more shorter-distance runs and gym work proving highly beneficial.

“I can definitely go quicker over 400m,” he said. “My times in training are a couple of seconds quicker than last year, so I’m really happy with where I’m at.

“I don’t really know what the reason is for the improvement, I just seem to have got quicker.

“I’ve been doing more gym work but haven’t really changed much else.

“But it is all well and good running fast times in training, I’ve got to do it in races.”

He added: “There is always something to improve on and the latter part of my race is where I need to stay strong.

“I get lots of lactic acid towards the end of races and with my cerebral palsy I have to maintain my balance.

“The sprint work has helped massively with my strength and speed, especially the shorter sprints over 50 and 60 metres.”

T36 ace Blake put his sprint work to good use back in February when he set a new 100m lifetime best at the Fazza International in Dubai.

While over in the Middle East he also got to experience conditions he might encounter at next year’s World Championships in Doha.

However, the Europeans in Swansea, and Berlin Grand Prix (June 19-23) before that, are Blake’s main concerns for now.