Para-athletes star | SASCOC - SASCOC

Para-athletes star

Our para-athletes have let it be known in no uncertain terms that they’re ready for the Paralympics in London later this year, writes Mark Etheridge.

Earlier this month some of our leading para-athletes were hosted aboard the British navy frigate HMS Montrose in Simon’s Town to celebrate 200 days to go before the Paralympics. Less than 10 days after that function and they came out and showed just where they stand.

Coetzenburg stadium in Stellenbosch was the venue for an IPC approved event at the weekend and our para-athletes came to the party big-time. How’s this for an impressive show of force? ÔÇô an incredible 28 Paralympic A standard qualifying marks were achieved, of which six were South African records, eight were personal bests and the cherry on the top, a world record!

That world record came from long jumper Dyan Buis in the F38 class.

His giant leap of 6.57 metres is 13 centimetres further than the current world record but sadly it won’t be ratified as a new world record. Explains coach Suzanne Ferreira: “The wind was legal but unfortunately he caught us off guard, and we didn’t arranged for doping officials to be at the competition.

“But it shows that he is ready for the world in this very important year. He then topped his day with a PB in the 200m by smashing his previous best with more than 0.3 seconds as he ran 22.80sec.”

Arnu Fourie had a fine 11.27sec in the T44 class which would have put him first in the world last year and there was also a personal best from Beijing Paralympics gold medallist Ilse Hayes who ran a personal best 12.38sec, a time which would have put her second in her class (T13) last year. She also had a good outing in the long jump, her 5.61m effort would have topped the world rankings last year.

And treble gold medallist from Beijing, Hilton Langenhoven ran a personal best and SA record of 49.42sec in the 400m which would have seen him top the world list for this event (T12 category)  in 2011.

Anrune Liebenberg also had a personal best in the 400m (T46 class) which would have been one off the best in the world last year and discus thrower Chenelle van Zyl (F35) had a personal best of 25.97 metres, second best in the world had it been thrown in 2011.

Rising youngster Charl du Toit ran 2min 05.33sec in the 800m (T37) which would have earned him fourth spot on the world rankings last year.

Clearly our para track and field athletes have stood up to be counted as the Paralympics get ever closer.