By Mark Etheridge
Three-time medallist at the 2012 Paralympics in London, track ace Dyan Buis is busy adding another string to his already impressive bow.
Originally from Riversdale but now based in Stellenbosch, Buis, pictured right, was a sensation at the Paralympics as he blazed his way to silver medals in the 100 and 200-metres events in his T38 category and also leapt to a bronze medal in the long jump.
But the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has opted to not include the 200m in Buis’ category at the 2016 Rio Paralympics so he and coach Suzanne Ferreira decided before┬á last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France to have a crack at the 400m distance.
And Saturday in Stellenbosch saw the switch of focus paying off as the 23-year-old raced to a personal best of 51.65 seconds at the Boland track and field championships.
That’s a whopping 0.33sec off his previous best at the world champs (51.98sec).
“We decided before worlds last year that we’d try the 400m and Lyon was only the fourth 400m that I’ve ever run,” Buis told Road to Rio 2016 this week.
“Lyon was my first international 400m and after that I started to focus on the distance a bit more and ran times of 52.20 and 52.30.”
Buis and coach Ferreira, Team South Africa’s athletics coach at the Paralympics, then got together before the Boland Championships. “We practised our race plan which was quite tiring.. and then on Saturday I prepared myself mentally before the race by first doing a lap of the track and visualising my race.’
All the pre-planning paid off handsomely though. I ran the first 300m very strongly and then just kept my posture for the last 100m.
“It was a great race for me and now there’s no more turning back for meÔÇª no more 52sec races!”
Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA