Words: Gameplan Media
Having been born with a left leg disability, South African para-shot put star Tyrone Pillay has always appreciated any opportunities he has been given and with the help of the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation and the Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP) he only sees himself becoming stronger, fitter and an even greater force to be reckoned with ahead of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Photo credit: Supplied/ Gameplan Media
Pillay is an athlete that has been earmarked as a potential medal winner at the Paralympic Games next year however, despite being an Operation Excellence athlete, Pillay has been grateful to be a part of the EADP as the programme has allowed him to overcome issues that previously hinder his progress.
“I am quite new to the EADP and it has been such a major help for me, even over this short period of time,” Pillay mentioned.
“The Department of Sport and Recreation got hold of me and asked if I would like to join the programme and with the assistance that they give, it was not a difficult decision for me to make!
“After paying my own way for six years I have always appreciated any assistance that I have been given and now to have physios, bios and doctors on hand to help without the stress of paying for these services has been a huge help for me!
“It has put my mind at ease and I’m sure this change in mind set will be hugely beneficial going forward!”
Pillay is currently deep into an important block of training as he builds up towards the Paralympic Games qualifiers with a number of back-to-back events dominating his schedule until the end of the year.
“I have been working really hard since November last year and with All Africa Games coming up in the Congo followed by World Champs in Qatar in October, it is important that I build up perfectly and stay fresh.
“I am currently ranked first in Africa so I am confident that I can come back from the continental championships with a medal.
“It is a really busy time for me up until nationals next year and then I plan on spending some time away from athletics as I want to avoid the fatigue that comes with constantly travelling,” he added.
It was a relatively swift rise to the international stage for Pillay who did not expect to be competing against the best in the world as early as he did considering his long term goals that he had set himself.
“My focus had always been on peaking at the 2016 Paralympic Games; I never thought that I would make the South African squad for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
“Competing against the best in the world was a great experience for me though and now it’s all about ensuring I’m on top of my game in Rio next year!”
“You never want to peak too soon as an athlete and so myself, the EADP and my coaches have worked out a carefully planned schedule that will have me in top form come Paralympics 2016,” an excited Pillay mentioned.
More information can be found at www.eadp.co.za