picture: Fuad Easck
A few weeks before heading to the disabled national championships in Stellenbosch, last month, they had to vacate Vygieskraal athletics stadium due to upgrades, and so they opted to use Kromboom park for training.
However, despite the last minute move, her athletes bloomed like nurtured flowers.
Susa says team Western Province won 71 gold, 35 silver and 25 bronze medals, including a long jump national record broken by Paralympian Mpumelelo Mhlongo, and the provincial soccer team finished second after losing in the finals to KwaZulu-Natal. As if that was not enough, seven of the athletes trained by Susa won medals.
Larry Wyngaardt won gold in the 100m and long jump open events in the T36 division for athletes with cerebral palsy. Roefia Adams won a gold medal in the girls’ under-17 shot put and discus event in the F37 and T37.
Chante Sam won gold in the under-17 long jump. Riaan Gallant won three gold medals for the under-17 javelin, discus and shot-put events. Victor Burton won a gold for discus and shotput and a silver for javelin in the open. And Dean Mostert won gold in the 800m open.
The experienced trainer says all her athletes trained hard to be where they are today.
“Preparations went well. We met twice a week. There were no facilities available to train because all the facilities were under repairs. But we would train in Kromboom or travel and train in schools in Mitchell’s Plain,” says Susa.
She says every time one of the provincial athletes took to the podium, she was overwhelmed with joy.
“The highlight as a coach is the very positive story of the championship. Every athlete is special and that is an overwhelming feeling.”
Roefia says: “I won gold in shot put and discus and I would like to say you should never let your disability be the reason that brings you down it should be the reason that lifts you up.”
Larry says he is working hard to reach his goal of competing at the nationals in Port Elizabeth and the Paralympics in Tokyo next year.