In the next installment of our series looking back at Rio 2016, we relive the day exactly four years ago when Tyrone Pillay won Team SA’s seventh medal at the Paralympic Games.
Big shot-putter Tyrone Pillay pushed Team South Africa’s medal tally to seven at the Rio Paralympics following a bumper day on Sunday with four medals (one gold, two silvers and a bronze).
Pillay kept up the medal-winning momentum in the F42 category as he heaved the sphere a career-best 13.91 metres. That was good enough for the bronze and comfortably eclipsed his previous best of 13.49m and was a new national and continental best.
Winner, and in a class of his own was Great Britain’s Aled Davis with a 15.97m on the day. It took a Paralympic record from Davies and a season’s best from Iran’s Salad Mohammedian (14.31) to keep Durban’s Pillay down on the lowest level of the podium.
Pillay, having turned 36 on 1 May this year, is not the youngest member of the SA team but it showed that his birthday rather aptly falls on Worker’s Day annually!
Also fittingly, it was in Rio earlier this year that his previous best hurl had been achieved.
On paper he may have not been favoured to podium but Pillay has now painted his name into Paralympic history. ‘The guys didn’t realise I could throw this far and I came out guns blazing. Man, I respect all those guys, they’ve helped me push through this far.
‘Aled is just an awesome guy, awesome competitor…’
There was also respect, huge respect, to the people behind the scenes, some of them no longer with us.
‘I lost my dad Teddy 14 years ago, my mom Suzy has still got cancer.. this is for them, and the whole of South Africa, especially for those who believed in me.’
And despite his ‘advanced’ age, Pillay has no thoughts of putting his shot away. ‘No, this makes me want to go on. I just love this sport too much. I want to grow this sport and get a whole heap of youngsters coming through.’