Maties excel in New Zealand
Members of the Maties-Helderberg Sports Club for Athletes with Disabilities of Stellenbosch University (SU) showed their mettle by winning a string of medals at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.
The Maties were part of the South African delegation at the championships, that included Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, and contributed to South Africa’s seventh place on the medal board with 25 medals of which nine were gold, seven silver and nine bronze.
It was a successful competition for Matie Ilse Hayes who won gold in the 100m (T13 – visually impaired) as well as in the long jump with a distance of 5.80m. Hayes also won a bronze medal in the 200m.
Hilton Langenhoven won silver in the long jump (F12 – visually impaired) category. He also won gold in the Pentathlon category. In the 200m (T44 – amputees), Arnu Fourie won bronze and ended fourth in the 100m (T43/44). Fanie van der Merwe won silver in the 100m and 200m (T37 – cerebral palsy) and even bettered his own 2008 Paralympic record in the 200m.
Jonathan Ntutu won silver in the 100m (T13). In the 200m he won a gold medal and set an African record in the process, but he was later disqualified for stepping outside his lane. He mustered fourth place in the 400m.
In the javelin category (F54 – wheelchair) Zanele Situ won bronze while new member Anrune Liebenberg won silver in the 400m (T46). Jean Joubert’s distance of 41.80m only ensured him a ninth place in the (F44 – amputation) javelin category.
According to Mr Wentzel Barnard, Manager of Maties-Helderberg Sports Club for Athletes with Disabilities, club members’ results were up and down during the last two days of the competition. The 4 x 100m relay team (T35- T38) of which Fanie van der Merwe was a member, was disqualified for passing the baton outside the take-over zone and champion wheelchair –racer Ernst van Dyk had to make do with a sixth place in the marathon. Jan Nero (T11 – blind) and his guide runner Duane Fortuin ended sixth in their first international competition. Arnu Fourie, on the other hand, won gold as part of the 4 x 100m relay team (T42- T44) that beat the Americans with a time of 42.40. This was a meet record and only 0.5s slower than the world record.
“People with disabilities are in a fortunate position here because we have the expertise and enthusiasm when it comes to the sport. As a club and country we can be very proud of our athletes. We have talent here that is being developed and managed properly,” said Mr Barnard.
Mr Barnard said medals were expected because the group were well-prepared by their coach Dr Suzanne Ferreira from the Department of Sport Sciences , field coach Karen le Roux and input from the Stellenbosch University Sport Performance Institute (SUSPI).
The competition was held in Christchurch, New Zealand from 21 to 30 January.