Gauteng dominated the overall medal table at the Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled in Stellenbosch, which ended this week.
Gauteng secured 157 golds, 89 silver and 37 bronze medals for a total of 283 medals. Western Province were second with 131 medals including 91 golds while the North West took third with 72 medals including 41 gold.
In all, over 60 South African and nine African records were broken at the 23rd staging of the Championships.
In eight sports across numerous disciplines Gauteng were dominant with swimmer Emily Gray the star of the team, collecting eight medals. Gray, pictured competing, right, won seven gold medals and a silver in a wide range of women’s S10 multi-disability events ranging from the 50-metre butterfly to the 1500m freestyle.
Gray pipped Western Province swimmer Achmat Hassiem, who won seven gold medals in the men’s S10 category, as the Championships, leading individual while there were numerous other top performances.
Sprinters Dyan Buis and Ilse Hayes put up world leading times in their respective events and look to be the two brightest stars in South African disabled athletics right now.
Buis broke the South African T38 400m record on Wednesday, clocking a time of 51.36 to shave 0.23sec off his own national record in cool, damp conditions on the final day of the meeting.
It was Buis second gold medal of the Championships following his victory in the 100m and has set him up well for the remainder of the season.
Buis, Paralympic silver medallist in the T38 100m from two years ago, won his 100m final comfortably in a time of 11.63. “I’m very happy because I was focusing on a lot of technical aspects I have been working on before the Championships,” Buis said after the 100m.
“My start was good and my drive in the transition period of the race was also good. The conditions were a bit cold but there was no wind or any other issues. “I’m hoping to break the 11 second barrier in the next year or so.”
Hayes created a buzz in the T13 100m on day two when she clocked an SA record 12.31, which is only 0.3 seconds off the world record. That was in addition to her superb 200m run in which she recorded 26.37. At this early stage she must already be a gold medal hopeful at next year’s World Championships in Doha.
Hayes won the F13 long jump gold medal in London 2012 and could become one of the darlings of the sport in the coming years , the Paralympic equivalent of Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
T37 400m runner Charl du Toit was also impressive in winning in 53.26 while veteran Hilton Langenhoven won the T12 100m, 200m and long jump titles.
Reigning world F37/F38 javelin champion Reinhardt Hamman narrowly missed out on an African record in windy conditions while sprinters Fanie van der Merwe, Jonathan Ntutu and Teboho Mokgalagadi caught the eye in the men’s 100m and 200m.
Hamman threw 45.64m for a comfortable victory in the javelin and added the shot put title to his collection as well.
Picture: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images