John Fitzsimons has proven in the past he can perform best when it matters most.
The Kildare man burst onto the scene in 2017 when he won a superb bronze medal over 800m at the European U20 Championships in Grosseto, Italy.
Nearly six years have passed since and despite his fair share of ups and downs, he has continued to progress in the intervening years and feels he has plenty more to give.
Last summer he crashed out in the heats at the European Championships in Munich, and he is determined to take the lessons he learned in Germany with him into this week’s European Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
“I was very, very disappointed afterwards,” he says of his Munich experience.
“I just let my emotions get the better of me on the day. I jumped the gun and went much too early, wasn't able to sustain my kick until the finish and got caught by a few guys over the last 100m.”
“I think this time going into Istanbul I'm going to take a much more relaxed approach and just be quietly confident in the shape I'm in.”
And Fitzsimons is in relatively good shape.
He has raced four times this season, each one an improvement on the last, most recently clocking an impressive season’s best of 1.47.92 in France. Not bad considering his indoor season was plunged into doubt in December when he missed three weeks of training with a groin injury.
He also missed the National Senior Indoor Championships last month due to tightness in his calf but has made a full recovery and is ready for action.
“I do think things are heading in the right direction,” he admits.
“I haven't ran the times that I'd like to have run indoors yet this season but it's fine.”
“The positive trend (in results) is enough to keep me content going into Istanbul.”
John Fitzsimons praises Irish teammate Mark English
Were he to reach a European final this weekend, Fitzsimons would likely line-up alongside teammate Mark English. English has won two previous medals at European Indoor Championships and Fitzsimons is full of praise for the Donegal man.
“There's lots of you can learn from Mark in terms of the way he races, he does get the best out of himself more often than not. He's normally one of the faster finishers in a race.”
“He doesn't need to be leading or in a medal position going into the last 100m, he'll close really, really well,” he adds.
“I think I'm going to try to take that approach a bit more in this championship myself, being the hunter not the prey.”
Last summer the 24-year-old IT Carlow graduate believed he was in 1.44 shape and reckons that is achievable in the months ahead. Were he to dip into that territory Mark English’s Irish record could be under serious threat.
“I think the times I ran last year probably didn't fully reflect the shape I was in. The world standard now for outdoors this year is 1.44.70 so that's definitely the goal.”
“I'm hoping to become a 1.44 guy this summer and let that be the platform to build upon for Paris the following year.”
Before any of that though his immediate focus will be on Istanbul with the heats of the Men’s 800m getting underway on Thursday afternoon.
“I just want to get the best out of myself on the day,” he says.
“If I race well I should make the semi-final. There's only six spots in the final then. Three medals from six spots, there nice odds. I wouldn't say it's (a final place) beyond my reach at all.”
“I think although Munich didn't go well I've proven in the past that I'm a good championship racer.”
Fitzsimons will be hoping to demonstrate that again this weekend.
John Fitzsimons was speaking at a 2023 European Indoor Championships Team Ireland media morning. The championships will be live on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ News Now.