Pushing limits, breaking records
TYRONE Pillay could not have not chosen a better occasion to fire his best shotput throw ever.
He picked the 2016 Rio Paralympics, and by throwing the heavy metal ball 13.91 metres, he secured a bronze medal at the games.
Pillay, 38, could not be faulted for his unbridled celebrations that followed. The picture in focus is a snapshot of just what it meant to the Reservoir Hills athlete to have done his country proud. “For me, it was always about being the best that I could be and that moment proved that I was one of the best at what I did.”
A lifelong achievement and a feeling of completion, was what Pillay felt after that effort.
He was participating in the E42 category shotput event, which catered for athletes who are above the knee amputees.
Before Pillay conjured his medalwinning effort, he was in last position among nine other competitors.
Understandably, his biggest backers, his mother and fiancée, who were at the stadium, were worried. But Pillay was unfazed.
He drew on his years of competing around the world in events.
His response was a throw of 13.66m, which would have secured him bronze anyhow, but Pillay was not done yet.
With his final throw, he got the shotput to travel 13.91m. It not only improved his personal best in the event, it helped him surpass Fanie Lomabaard’s All-Africa record, which had stood for 14 years, by 10cm.
“Breaking that record is one of the best moments of my life,” said Pillay.
Winning the medal has changed Pillay’s profile as an athlete.
“It is key to remain humble. I believe that a person is not measured by medals and records, but by the legacy you leave behind.”
Therefore, apart from putting in the hard yards to remain in peak condition and preparing for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Pillay also puts in time and effort assisting children in need of prosthetic legs.
Pillay, who has been wearing prosthesis since he was 10-months old, is working with “Jumping Kids” for the past six years.
“During my time with Jumping Kids, we have helped 200 children who required prosthetic legs.
“It is important to positively impact society and ensure a better life for all.”
Pillay said sport had taught him much about respect, dedication and discipline, and it spilled into all aspects of life.
He’s grateful for the opportunities to compete at the of highest levels.
“I got to live a dream.”
Paralympian Tyrone Pillay showing off the South African flag, fresh after securing a bronze medal in a shotput event, at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Brazil.