Paralympian goes for gold in 100m breaststroke
Former Grey High swimmer Kevin Paul will hit the water in Rio today as the overwhelming favourite to clinch gold in his opening event as the Paralympic Games kick into action.
Paul, 25, will get straight into the thick of things when he contests the 100m breaststroke in the SB9 category today.
His heat will take place at 3.15pm South African time this afternoon and the final is scheduled for about 11pm tonight.
Paul’s father Mervyn says he has been in constant contact with his son’s coaches Graham Hill and Delon Dannhauser and by all reports he is in prime condition heading into the heats.
Born without pectoral muscles on the left side of his chest as a result of Poland Syndrome, Paul’s left arm is slightly shorter than his right and he has adapted his stroke to swim predominately with his shoulder muscles.
He is an experienced Paralympian, having competed before at the Beijing Games in 2008 and London in 2012 where he collected gold and silver respectively.
His latest triumphs include gold medals at both the 2013 and 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships.
“I’ve been communicating via Whatsapp with his coaches Graham Hill, in Durban, and Delon Dannhauser in Rio and they say he is ready to fly,” dad Mervyn said.
“By all accounts, he’s raring to go and they want the gold. The world record is not important at this stage, he merely has his eye on gold. If the record comes, it comes.”
“He will also compete in the 200 individual medley on Sunday. The breaststroke is his favoured event but his coaches believe he has a real chance at clinching a medal in the individual medley as well.”
Paul has undergone an intensive three-month training programme in his pursuit of gold.
Paul relocated from Port Elizabeth to Durban four years ago to join up with his coaches.
Since the national championships in April, Paul has travelled to training camps with able-bodied swimmers like Chad le Clos and Myles Brown and his coach Graham Hill in Mauritius, United Arab Emirates and Italy.
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