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Ilse eyes more medals

Double medallist at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, Ilse Hayes is already basking in a golden glow after winning the 100-metre sprint at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand at the weekend.

But having once again experienced the thrills of victory on the opening day of competition she realises that there’s more work to be done in order for the thrills to continue.

Stellenbosch based Hayes clocked 12.50 seconds to win her T13 sprint final but still has the 200m and long jump awaiting her. Both events are scheduled for Wednesday, the same day as Oscar Pistorius goes in search of his second gold of the championships.

Making it that much more difficult for Hayes, who is visually impaired with Stargardt’s disease, is that her two events are not that far from each other being on consecutive days. The 200m final is Wednesday and the long jump the next morning. Explained her husband Cassie: “I spoke to her this morning and although she’s really stoked about the gold she also said it’s no point starting well and then not being consistent so she really wants to do well in the 200m and long jump as well.

“The schedule is quite packed but luckily they don’t have heats for their sprinting events so that helps. They are also competing against the F12’s in the long jump for the first time this year so she doesn’t really know anything about the competition as opposed to the sprinting events (only T13) where they know each other well.”

A series of earth tremors have rocked New Zealand recently but Cassie reckons there’s nothing to worry about: “The earthquake wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been but it was still a bit scary apparently.

“Another thing that Ilse mentioned is how they support each other’s events when you are not competing so that also helps. She also mentioned how everyone appreciates the media coverage as this further helps the general public to gain some insight into their sport. I’ve met many people who are very interested but when they start asking you questions you can see how little they know about disabled sport so all the coverage via the media really does help especially for the continuation of the sport going forward.”