These medals are proof that hard work pays, says champ

MZOXOLO BUDAZA

Sebastian Goliath, a member of Bridgetown’s Unitie Sports Club for the Physically Disabled, was in devastating form at last month’s national championships in Bloemfontein.

The competition featured top athletes from the country’s nine provinces, and the two showed why they are among the best in the country.

Goliath came back with a gold medal in javelin, silver in discus and a bronze in shot put.

Team mate Larry Wyngaard, a sprinter, came back with four gold medals after winning the 100m, 200m, 400m and long jump.Wyngaard can be considered a veteran, having won a number of gold medals at the national championships since 2008.

So it was not really surprising when he set the scene alight in the city of roses with his blistering pace. He says he thinks the 400m is his speciality as he has won it four times since 2008.

“The fact that I was able to do well consistently doesn’t mean I came up against weaker opponents.

“It was a matter of the hard work that I put in during preparations, being rewarded. I practise six days a week, from Monday to Sunday, so when I go to an event, I go there to win every event I take part in.

Wyngaard says his immediate goal was to break into the top-10 bracket, in the 400m, and hopefully qualify for the Paralympics.

Goliath, on the other hand, says he didn’t expect to win those medals, as he travelled to Bloemfontein following a recent knee operation. The injury bothered him for a long time and late last year, he had to have surgery.

Goliath says he slowly worked his way to full fitness as he took his recovery one step at a time.

“My performance at the nationals was fairly average but good enough to get the desired results.

“I did a lot of physical and mental training, to make sure that I understood what I had to do in terms of tactics. Running and lifting weights, to build muscles, were important aspect of my preparations,” he says.

Goliath says the fact that he took part in three different field events was taxing as it requires a lot of discipline to switch.

“I did the basics right, and those three medals are proof of the hard work I put in.

“In the javelin event, for instance, there was a guy who pushed me all the way. Most of the time we were throwing same distances, and it was clear he was not going to give up. So, it took me one or two throws to beat him, right at the end,” he says.

Looking ahead, Goliath said, he would like to take part in as many competitions as possible but that will be determined by the extent of his knee injury.

“My injury is not fully healed yet, that’s why I know I didn’t perform at my best at the national championships. It is going to take time and I should not put it under a lot of strain,” he said.

Former Unitie chairwoman Muriel Susa says the two were among the five athletes who flew the club’s flag at the national champs.

She described them as true ambassadors of the club and physically disabled sport in general.

“Our members are always among the top performers whenever they take part in competitions.

“We were also confident they would do well this time around too. It was, however, not easy but they still did well and came back with medals,” she said.

Susa said the club was open to every one and invited anyone interested to help disabled sportsmen and women, to call her on 073 794 2461.