Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
EADP stars eye Paralympic
Durban – As the 31st scheduled Olympic Games starts to build
momentum in the carnival city of Rio de Janeiro Paralympic
athletes start their final preparations for the 14th edition of
the para-sport spectacle with Elite Athlete Development Programme
stars Kevin Paul and Tyrone Pillay hoping to make their mark at
the showpiece event in Rio from 7-18 September.
The pair have tasted varying degrees of success and failure over
the past eight years with Paul unable to defend his gold medal at
the London Paralympics in 2012 and Pillay falling short of being
selected for the national team however these disappointments have
motivated the Kwa-Zulu Natal Department of Sport and Recreation
“Not being able to defend my gold medal in London was really
disappointing for me and influenced a few of the changes I have
made in my career,” current 100m S9 breast stroke world record
holder Paul said.
“I moved to Durban about two years ago, joined the EADP and
Graham Hill became my coach. I have seen a lot of improvements in
my swimming and it gives me a lot of encouragement going into the
Rio will be a third trip to the global showpiece for Paul and
despite the experience of two previous Games dealing with the
pressures that come with an event like the Paralympics is
something that he still has to come to grips with when competing
on the ultimate sporting stage.
“I cannot even describe the pressure that you feel when you are
about to take part in a Paralympic final, it’s different to any
other event – maybe because it only comes around every four
“Having been to two Games in the past I think I have learnt to
harness that pressure better and I am going out there to win
another gold medal, especially after missing out in London.
“I went back to the drawing board after London and with the help
of everyone at Prime I feel like I am in the best possible shape
I could be in and I am just really excited to get to Rio and
represent South Africa,” a motivated Paul added.
The João Havelange Olympic Stadium will be the hunting ground for
EADP shot put star Tyrone Pillay as he breaks new ground at his
first Paralympic Games after he missed out on selection to the
Games four years ago.
“Just getting selected for the team to go to the Games was an
achievement in itself for me,” Pillay, who has a prosthetic left
foot, said with a smile during his final preparations.
“I had to improve my distances in order to get selected and I
have been improving constantly with a personal best at the
practice event in Rio earlier this year being a highlight.
“It has been an incredible journey for me to get to this point
and along with my support team I am really excited to be
representing South Africa.
The 36 year old might be heading into the twilight of his career
but his current number suggest that he will be a threat when the
event gets underway in September.
“I am in the top four in the world at the moment which gives me a
little bit more motivation to break into that top three but with
that said being selected was my main goal and so if there is a
medal out there, it’s just a cherry on the top!
“This could well be my last shot at a Paralympic medal so I am
really going to give it everything I have got – I don’t want to
come home with any regrets!” an excited Pillay commented
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After having to
settle for a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London,
Elite Athlete Development Programme star Kevin Paul, pictured
here with the Head of Department at the KwaZulu-Natal Department
of Sport and Recreation, Mrs Rohini Naidoo, will hope to
go one better at the para-sports showpiece event in Rio from 7-18
Having recovered from
the disappointment of missing out on the 2012 Paralympic Games in
London, shot put star Tyrone Pillay will have his shot at glory
when he takes on the worlds best para-athletes at the Rio
showpiece from 7-18 September.
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