Para-athletes shine | SASCOC - SASCOC

Para-athletes shine

Our South African para-athletes have had a successful start to their European tour at their first meeting in Leverkusen, Germany.

Cold and wet conditions greeted the team’s arrival in Europe but this was made up for by a warm reception from their German hosts and the competition day dawned sunny and clear, and more importantly with a slight tail-wind for the sprinters, writes Mark Etheridge.

Jonathan Ntutu got matters off to a good start with an 11.06 in the 100-metre. This was the second quickest time of his career but faster than the IPC World Championships in New Zealand at the beginning of the year and now noted as an African record.

Then Arnu Fourie ran an 11.36 for the 100m. With the team in Germany, Stellenbosch based coach Suzanne Ferreira said: “He had a tough start, but a very strong finish… better than in Christchurch.”

Fanie van der Merwe went on to run 11.71 for the 100m, also close to his best.

Ilse Hayes, 2008 Beijing Paralympics gold medallist, was also in action in Germany. Said Ferreira: “She had a good race, no real competition and ran a 12.60 (In Christchurch she won in 12.49), so this was good and I didn’t expect such a good time. Her long jump was not as good with 5.34 metros, but considering that we had only one full day of practice, I’m satisfied.

“Marius Stander also ran his first race overseas in three years and was quite nervous. The pacing was a bit of an issue for the first 200m, but he finished the 400m in 54.18.”

Bloemfontein based Teboho Mokgalagadi had an average return and came close to falling in the 200m, picking up a speed wobble with about 20m to run. Chenelle van Zyl also went close her personal best in the shot put event.

“All in all I think it was a good day,” concluded Ferreira. “Now we’re off to Zurich, then to Singen for the German nationals, where they say 1200 athletes have entered for the competition. So we’re really looking forward to it… I’ve met some other coaches from Australia and Netherlands, and had good chats with them regarding next year etc to it’s all good.”