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Herbst gets SA’s medal charge going at IPC World Championships
- Updated: July 14, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
It was Hendri Herbst who was the first male medal winner for Team South Africa at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
So quite fitting that it was again Herbst who won South Africa’s first medal at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday.
The blind Worcester, Western Cape athlete took bronze (same colour as in London) in the men’s S11 100-metre freestyle event. It was a belated but fitting birthday gift for Herbst who turned 23 just last month.
Herbst who had enthused about the new starting blocks for the backstroke events, clocked 1min 00.35sec to bag a qualifying time for next year’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bradley Snyers (US) won the event in a meeting record of 56.78 from Brazilian Matheus Sousa in 59.20.
‘Awesome winning the first medal for team SA. The pain was worth it. Let’s go SA,’ said a happy Herbst after his swim.
“I’m very happy and proud to have won the first medal for Team SA, with the hope that it inspires my fellow teammates to achieve their own goals and personal bests. My first 50m was really good but I know I have to work on my back end speed when preparing for the Road to Rio 2016,’ he said.
Two-time Paralympian Kevin Paul, who has been training in Durban under the watchful eye of national coach Graham Hill for the last few months, clocked a personal and African best 25.49sec in the S10 50m freestyle event as he took eighth spot. His main event is the 100m breaststroke on Wednesday and Monday’s work was all part of that build-up.
On the women’s side (there are only three women in the 10-strong squad), Beth Nothling nailed a Paralympic qualifying time of 55.92 in the S5 50m backstroke final where she took eighth spot.
And two-time Paralympian Emily Gray also technically secured a spot in Rio with her seventh spot (1:16.27) in the S9 100m backstroke final.
Tuesday is day two of the action with Gray (100m free), Paul (200m IM) in action again and they’re joined by Hendrik van der Merwe in the 100m breaststroke (SB5).
The SA team’s participation at IPC World Championships is made possible by: SRSA, NLDTF, Nedbank, SASOL and 361º