Push­ing lim­its, break­ing records

Post - - SPORT - MERVYN NAIDOO

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.”

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

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.

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