Beijing Paralympics swimmer and home-town favourite, Kevin Paul, capped the second day of the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Port Elizabeth with a world record in the 50m breast stroke at the Newton Park Swimming Pool.
Paul, who competes in the S10 class, set a time of 31.66 (previous record 31.82) in the one-length sprint. He now holds the world marks in the 50m, 100m and 200m breast stoke events.
“I was confident that I could do it. I’ve been setting good times in training and was merely waiting for an IPC (International Paralympic Committee) event to make it official.”
The 18-year-old law student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University said he was extremely happy with his performance as his training was aimed at the world championships in the Netherlands in August.
Paralympics sprinter Fanie van der Merwe provided the highlight of the day’s track and field programme when he set a wind-assisted world best in the 200m.
Although his time of 23.18 seconds won’t stand, it is a considerable improvement on his own official world mark of 23.84, set in Beijing in 2008. It is also marginally quicker than his 23.19 set in Dubai in February, which is awaiting ratification by the international governing body.
“I concentrated on running a good bend as it was into the wind,” said Van der Merwe. “I started tiring with about 50m to go and focused on keeping my form and my knees up.”
The 24-year-old from Stellenbosch, who participates in the T37 class, said he was as surprised as anyone at the quick time. “I really didn’t expect it.”
Although his signature event is the 200m, Van der Merwe said he was concentrating on doing well in Monday’s 100 and 400m races. “Not only tomorrow, but in future races as well. That’s where I can still improve a lot.”
Hilton Langenhoven, a triple gold medallist in Beijing, only completed four of his six allotted jumps in winning the long jump (T12). “I felt a twinge in my left calf, my take-off leg, and didn’t want to risk getting hurt before tomorrow’s races (100m and relay).”
Although his leap of 7.02m was considerably short of his South African record (7.43m), it was good enough to qualify for next January’s world championships in New Zealand. “I’m happy with my distance. I wanted to break seven metres.”
The South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled’s official torchbearer said it was nice to have the pressure of qualification off his shoulders. “Now I can enjoy the rest of the season, starting with the European leg in May and June.”
Border’s David Roos, the SA record holder and a silver medallist in Beijing in the long jump (F57), qualified for the world championships (B-standard) with a distance of 6.46m. Western Province Paralympian Jonathan Tutu qualified (B-standard) in the 200m (T13).
Eastern Province’s Duane Strydom won the shot put (F36) with a heave of 10.13m, while Samkelo Radebe from Central Gauteng won gold, but failed at his world record attempt in the high jump (F45).
The most unique record of the day went to Central Gauteng twins, Zelda and Retha Lubbe, who threw exactly the same distance (3.58m) to share silver in the u/16 shot put for girls.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled