London Paralymics track medallists Hilton Langenhoven and Tebogo Mokgalagadi have headed west as part of their road to the Rio Paralympics in 2016, writes Mark Etheridge.
The duo, from Western Cape and Free State respectively, are in Phoenix, Arizona (US) where they’ll compete in the Desert Challenge Games, hosted by Arizona Disable Sports, from Friday to Sunday. The event is a multi-day competition for individuals aged from seven and through to adulthood.
The competition is part of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix and the only one of its kind to take place in the United States.
Accompanied by coach Raymond Julius the two athletes spent 33 hours of travel before getting to their destination.
Says Julius: “The fact that the Paralympics take place only every four years places special pressures on all Paralympic athletes and our athletes must get used to dealing with these pressures.
“Elite athletes constantly have to confront anxiety, fear of failure, and worries about injury. So events like this afford the athlete the opportunity of testing themselves against international competition and how to deal with these pressures.”
Langenhoven will participate in the 100-metre and long jump events while Mokgalagadi will face competition in the 100m and 200m.
“All events will be straight finals,” says Julius. “Both athletes have commented that although the travelling to the competition was extremely tiring, they’ll be looking to improve their seasons best in their respective events.
“They’re also honoured to participate at this event and look forward to the competition.
“They would also like to thank SASCOC for making it possible for them to take part in events like this.”