Eight-times Boston wheelchair marathon winner, Ernst van Dyk, showed he was in excellent form ahead of this year’s race with a scintillating ride in the hand cycle individual time-trial event at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Port Elizabeth on Sunday morning.
Van Dyk, who is focusing on the hand cycle discipline in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in London in 2010, blitzed the wind-swept course at Greenbushes on the outskirts of the city in 29:12.93 to record an average speed of 37km/h.
“I was aiming for an average of 38km/h, but the cross-winds made the conditions extremely tough. I couldn’t have gone much faster and am very happy with my effort.”
Van Dyk, the reigning Paralympic road race champion, said he felt “great” throughout his effort and complimented the organisers for setting up a “good” course.
“My goal is to get up to 40km/h before London. I believe that’s where I need to be if I want to be in contention for gold,” said the man from Paarl in the Western Cape.
The 36-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the wheelchair marathon in Beijing, will now attempt to win a ninth title in Boston in mid-April before tackling the London marathon the following week.
Capetonian cyclist James van Rensburg – taking part in the LC 1 category – also caught the eye with his ride of 28:18.08.
“My race went really, really well. I was able to overtake two riders in front of me,” said the 36-year-old who represented South Africa at last year’s Paracycling World Championships in Italy in only his first season of disabled competition.
Van Rensburg said he was pushing to break 28 minutes. “We started into a headwind, which made it tough. I tried to keep something in reserve for the finishing stretch.”
The fastest time of the day was recorded by another Capetonian, Janos Plekker, who won the 1 000m time-trial on the track the previous day. Taking part in the CP 4 category, he clocked 26:49.36.
After last night’s second swimming session, Natalie du Toit (Central Gauteng), Shireen Sapiro (Central Gauteng) and Kevin Paul (Eastern Province) all had won five gold medals in their respective categories. Achmat Hassien was also impressive in racking up two golds and a bronze.
Paul, from PE, won gold in Beijing in the 100m breast stroke and is eyeing a world record in the 50m breast stroke in Sunday’s evening session at the Newton Park Swimming Pool.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled