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Gold for Matthysen

It was hard to miss the delight on Johannes Matthysen’s face when he captured gold in the men’s 67.5 kilogram division at the Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled, presented by the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) in Rustenburg on Monday.

The 23-year-old Northern Cape athlete pressed 122.5kg, just a touch over double his body weight of 61.65 to finish 27.5kg clear of Eastern Cape silver medallist, Vuyo Ndulzalwana.

ÔÇ£I hoped I would do well, but I wasn’t expecting to win gold,ÔÇØ said Matthysen, grinning from ear to ear. That was a very nice bonus.”

Matthysen tried for 127.5kg but was faulted. ÔÇ£The referees said I didn’t pause long enough on my chest,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£I’ll look at working on that aspect, so I can get the timing right. It was disappointing to fault like that.ÔÇØ

Matthysen explained that delight was not just about winning gold; it was about getting back to the form that saw the Kimberley power lifter finish 18th at the IPC World Power Lifting Championships in Kuala Lumpur and 20th at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi last year.

ÔÇ£My dad passed away in May last year, so life took quite a turn,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£I not only lost my father but my coach, too, but I was training for the Commonwealth and didn’t really have time to work through it. When we got back from India, I put everything on hold for a few months. I just needed to make peace with it all.ÔÇØ

Matthyssen, who was born with a development congenital disorder called Spina Bifida, explained that life has been tough without his biggest supporter.

ÔÇ£My family is very supportive, but it’s been tough financially,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£Luckily five weeks ago, Jan Flemming started coaching me again. I will work as hard as it takes to try and make the SA Team for the 2012 Paralympics. If I don’t I’ll shoot for 2016.ÔÇØ

The 48kg weight category also produced an unexpected medallist in Clifford Martin. The right-leg amputee from the Western Province claimed silver with a push of 90kg to finish behind Thabo Phahlamohlak from Gauteng, who won gold with 100kg.
ÔÇ£I’ve been under the weather for a few weeks with flu, so I had to drop to a lower category because I dropped some weight,ÔÇØ he explained.

Still, Martin still pushed double his current weight and made the SA standard. ÔÇ£I got it to 105 after the competition, so that was great. A few weeks in training will get me back to my proper weight and then I should be able to push three times my weight. I’ve got my sights set on making the 2012 team, so I’m certainly going to give it everything I’ve got.ÔÇØ

And 31-year-old Ruben Soroseb of Namibia threw his name in the hat for a wild card entry to the Paralympics next year when he claimed gold in the 100kg weight division.

The national convenor for power lifting, Moekie Grobbelaar, who represented South Africa at the Paralympics in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, explained.

ÔÇ£Ruben pressed 185kg, a weight that should see him make London next year, because countries that don’t have enough athletes to send a team, are eligible for wild cards if there is an athlete with a high enough standard to compete.ÔÇØ

Local lifter Alan Dingle was the only competitor in the visually impaired category and won gold in the squat (210kg), bench (120kg) and dead lift (185kg).

RESULTS:

GOLD
48kg – Thabo Phahlamohlak (Gauteng)
60kg – Bongani Mbatha (KwaZulu-Natal)
67.5kg – Johannes Matthysen (Northern Cape)
75kg – Ricardo Fitzpatrick (Northern Cape)
80kg – Mazwi Mkhize (KwaZulu-Natal)
100kg – Ruben Soroseb (Namibia)

SILVER
48kg – Clifford Martin (Western Cape)
67.5 kg – Vuyo Ndulzulwana (Eastern Cape)


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