By Mark Etheridge
Ilse Hayes followed in the footsteps of Charl du Toit on Saturday to become Team South Africa’s second double medallist at the Rio Paralympics.
After Du Toit had done the double by winning the T37 100 and 400-metre events it was Hayes who added to her T13 100m silver by grabbing silver in the one-lapper.
Winner was France’s Nantenin Keita in 55.78 and Hayes clocked 56.49.
Beaten she may have been but Stellenbosch’s star at least had the satisfaction of beating the woman who had won gold in the 100m, Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova (56.60 in third).
‘Yes the 400m wasn’t my main event but I gave it my best. I got a bronze in Athens (2004) so this is better.
‘Obviously my main event was the 100m so my strategy was to go conservatively to begin with. I gave it all for the last 100m but at least I still ended up with my second best time. The competition was very strong this year.
’This is my last Paralympics and I just have to say thanks to God for my talent etc. The silver in the 100m was the cherry on the cake for me as I didn’t train too much for the 400m. But IPC World Championships in London next year have a 100 and 200 so I’ll focus on that.
‘All thanks to a great journey with by coach Suzanne Ferreira and my husband [Cassie] my parent and by training group.’
Hayes’ medal, her seventh in her Paralympic journey, takes Team SA’s medal tally to 15 with just one day to go.
That places the team 22nd on the medals table on Saturday with Nigeria and Tunisia ahead of them in the race to top the continental honours.
In swimming, Alan Ferreira was the final South African swimmer in action, in her fifth and final event. She ended seventh in her heat, in 1:24.60 and failed to make the final.
In cycling, Dane Wilson ended 21st in the C4-5 road race in 2:38.50.
Picture of Hayes courtesy of Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA