South African Paralympic track and field star Ilse Hayes has described her feeling after winning gold in the long jump T13 final as “pure joy” after a tough year of injuries at the Lyon 2013 IPC Athletics World Champs in France.
Hayes smashed the existing championship record with a 5.76m leap to secure the gold medal.
In an interview with gsport, South Africa’s Paralympic long jump T13 champion said: “If I can describe it in two words it would be PURE JOY!!! I had a tough year regarding injuries. So just getting the opportunity to actually compete was enough for me.”
Click to watch Ilse Hayes win gold in the long jump T13 at the Lyon 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships from 19-28 July (Video courtesy youtube)
Hayes says her joy isn’t only measured in her gold medal, but also because she was 5cm from a personal best distance, without any training due to injuries.
“My last jump before this competition took place in the Olympic stadium last year during the 2012 Paralympic games. So I didn’t put any expectation or pressure on myself, I just saw it as an opportunity to do what I love, and it became an amazing experience!”
Hayes kicked off her World Championship campaign with a silver medal in the 100m event, but insists her best is yet to come in this key event.
Click to watch Ilse Hayes win silver in the 100m T13 (Video courtesy youtube)
“I was very excited to get out there and to give it my best shot out there. I was quick out of the blocks, but unfortunately at the 70m mark, Ukraine’s Olena Gliebova got ahead of me, and got the gold medal.
“I’m looking forward to getting back into training and working on my Achilles hill, which is my last 20m. Overall I’m very pleased with my performance, and I would just like to congratulate Gliebova on a great performance.”
Hayes had special words of thanks to South Africans who have thrown their weight behind Team South Africa.
“It is really incredible how the nation is behind us all the way. With social media these days it makes it a global village where everyone is connected and in the loop all the time. I would like to thank each and every one who has supported Team SA during these champs.
“It makes it worth it to do our best and see how our flag gets raised during a medal ceremony and know that it brings the nation together. What an honour.”