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Golden Glasgow evening for SA’s Paul!
- Updated: July 16, 2015
South Africa’s Kevin Paul had four excellent reasons for celebration at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Wednesday evening.
Swimming the SB9 100-metre breaststroke final, the reigning world champion’s time of 1min 04.50sec saw him win the gold medal, set a new personal best, a new Championship Record and give him a qualification time for the Rio Paralympics next year.
Formerly from Port Elizabeth but now based in Durban where he’s being mentored by national swim coach Graham Hill and Dellon Dannhauser. In the morning he’d bettered his 2013 Championship record of 1:05.82 when he won his heat in 1:05:42.
He told Road to Rio 2016 early on Thursday morning: ‘Well the race went really well as expected from my side, that’s my point of view because obviously we didn’t know what anyone else would do.
‘I was confident after the morning heats where I had a comfortable race with a quick time and a Championships Record.
‘So I knew that if I put my head down and concentrated we could maybe take a second or so off and possibly get a PB time.
‘This is just a huge stepping stone, and the gold, Championship Record and personal best is all just building the confidence. Next year when I stand on those blocks in Rio I’ll be standing there as world champion, which is such a big confidence booster. After all, I wouldn’t want to be on blocks knowing I was only second or third fastest.
‘So I’m very happy. Graham and Dellon have been putting in a lot of work with me, and now we’re just sticking to the process.’
Swimming South Africa’s CEO, Shaun Adriaanse expressed his excitement in the team’s performance at the competition tonight. ‘Kevin displayed a commanding performance in his gold winning race, showing that he is clearly on track for silverware in Rio 2016.
‘We are very proud of the team that is representing SA in Glasgow as they continue to strive for fast times and improve on their personal bests,’ concluded Adriaanse.
Johann van Heerden was another Paralympics qualifer as he finished eighth in the same race as Paul (1:12.69). The 19-year-old had notched a personal best time of 1:12.58 in the morning heats.
Unfortunately the SA team missed out on the chance of another medal when Hendri Herbst went awry in the S11 100m backstroke final.
Explained team manager Dea Slattery: ‘Hendri went skew into the walk in the back turn so missed it completely. and was totally disorientated. This unfortunately can happen to the blind. It’s the nature of the disability and happens to the best so he was disqualified.’
Said Herbst after his disappointment: ‘Ready and I tumble… but no wall! The worst feeling ever. But it happens. I will make it up on my 50m free Friday.’ Fighting spirit indeed!
Friday’s fourth day of competition sees Emily Gray in the S9 50m freestyle and Adri Visser in the S5 50m butterfly.
The South African swimming team in Glasgow is sponsored by Sport and Recreation South Africa, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Nedbank, SASOL and 361º.