By Mark Etheridge
He’s already a veteran of three Paralympics… and Hilton Langenhoven looks to be heading for a fourth after last week’s Nedbank Athletics Championships for the Disabled.
The multi-talented track and field athlete, by his own admission, didn’t have the best of seasons last year but even as he lay on the physiotherapy table after he’d been beaten to gold by great mate Jonathan Ntutu in the 200m at the African Games he had told Road to Rio 2016 that it was all part of a process.
That process has powered along now to the point where he posted Rio Paralympics qualifying times and distances in not one but three events in Bloemfontein last week.
Those events were the T12 200-metre and 400m sprints and the long jump as he won gold in all three.
Coach Raymond Julius and biokeneticist/gym trainer Niël Michau have done sterling work with the three-time Paralympic gold medallist looking to be approaching his best form.
Said coach Julius: ‘Hilton gives praise to his immediate family for their continuous support during the past 20 weeks when he started training after coming back from the World Champs. The entire team are in agreement that hard work lies ahead for greater success in Rio if he is selected for the national team. A big thank-you also goes to SASCOC and their partners for creating the platform for athletes to compete and qualify for the Paralympic Games 2016.’
As for the man himself, he’s in a good frame of mind. ‘I really think the Nedbank national championships have laid a really good platform towards qualification for Rio. ‘My 400 metres really gave me renewed confidence that I can go to the Championships and go and compete against the best in the world,’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
‘The 200m was a really big challenge but for a long long time I’ve really enjoyed competing in this event and I’m really pleased by the work that we have done leading up to nationals. Then in the long jump there’s still a lot of work to be done (and the other events as well) but specifically for the long jump because I think it’s such an open event when it comes to medal winners
‘With my confidence up again “we” can do very well if we fix the minor problems. I’ve got a good feeling about events if I’m selected for the South African team.’
Picture of Langenhoven courtesy of Martin Potgieter/Bonzai Photography