Today (22 October) marks the first day of competition at the IPC World Championships in Doha, Qatar.  The opening ceremony was joined by para-athletes from across the globe, 23 are from South Africa.

Day one will see Tyrone Pillay (F42*) in shot put, Lean Simon (F44) in discus, Charl du Toit and Fanie van der Merwe (T37), as well as Dyan Buis and Union Sekailwe (T38) in the 200, followed by Jonathan Ntutu (T12) in 100 meter action.

Pillay, who hails from Durban, goes into the competition ranked sixth in the world. He told Road to Rio 2016 he is expecting a tough competition since eight of the ten top shot-putters in his division have come to compete for podium.

“I would be happy with anything over 13.5 meters and a medal would be a bonus. I am feeling confident and look forward to giving it my best,” says Pillay.

In the 200m T37 division, both Du Toit and Van der Merwe are ranked among the season’s top five.

The Stellenbosch duo, coached by Suzanne Ferreira, have been chasing top spot all year with Van der Merwe ending his season by winning the Maties Sportsman with a Disability award last week.

In further field action, Lean Simon (ranked 14th) takes on the F44 discus.

“Lean is the newcomer and he faces a strong field. It is a chance for him to get his name out there and, based on his recent form, he can go into the competition with confidence,” says coach, Karin Le Roux.

South Africa also occupies two top five rankings in the T38 200m division with Sekailwe at fifth, and Buis current number one with a time of 23.26 seconds (Sao Paulo, Brazil).

Finally on track, Ntutu – (who won two medals at Lyon 2013) – is in action in the 100m heats and semi-finals.

“I am confident that my preparations will pay off. My aim is to medal but to do that, I need to win every race to get to the final. That is my focus,” Ntutu commented.

#Doha2015 #BeyondIncredible

T12 – track, visually challenged
F42/44 – field, amputee above/below knee
T37/38 – track, cerebral palsy

Written by: Liezel van Rensburg

Photo Credit: Martin Potgieter / Bonzai Photography