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Van Dyk part of history-making mile and he’s also up for key IPC position
- Updated: May 31, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
It’s been a busy last few days for six-time Paralympian Ernst van Dyk, both on the racing front and behind the scenes on the administrative side of things.
He’s raced two events in London, the one a street mile in Westminster, the other a 10km road race that coincided with the 100-days-to-go-to-the-Paralympics milestone on Monday.
The first of those races saw Van Dyk brought in to help six-time Paralympic medallist David Weir of Britain become the first wheelchair racer to go under the three-minute barrier for the mile.
Van Dyk’s help proved crucial as Weir clocked 2:57 to beat his previous best by six seconds.
Paarl’s Van Dyk told Road to Rio 2016: ‘David is in such good form that he honestly didn’t need much help from me. We started very fast and went through the first 800m with a split of 1:23. This set the foundation for a very fast mile and in the last 400m Dave had the speed and the endurance to carry it through and set a world’s best time of 2:57.
‘The fast start was tough for me as a more seasoned marathoner and I tied up pretty badly towards the end and finishing in 3:09.
‘But it was still a personal best for me in the mile and even better in the context that most of May was spent building a good block of training on my bike and competing in the UCI Paracycling World Cup in PMB.’
Moving on to the Vitality London 10,000 race and Van Dyk said the loop was the same as that for the Rio Paralympic marathon ‘with a lot of corners and false flats but I was able to hold on to Weir for a while.
‘Towards the 7km make he gradually pulled away from me in a windy part and the lack of speed work caught up with me.’
Weir was credited with a time of 21min 06sec with Van Dyk runner-up in 21:39.
‘It was still a respectable time for 10km. Now it’s back to the bike as I work towards the next hand cycling World Cup in mid July in Spain. The plan is to go a bit earlier and to make a solid training camp of the trip in the warm weather of Spain.’
Meanwhile, away from the racing and Van Dyk has been honoured with a nomination as one of 22 athletes to stand as candidates for one of six summer representative positions on the International Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council.
The Elections to decided on the final six will take place from 5-16 September 2016 during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Game.
Van Dyk is one of three African candidates, the others being powerlifter Lucy Ejike from Nigeria and athlete Marcio Fernandes of Cape Verde Islands.