Jaco: Humansdorp’s golden athlete

2017-05-11 06:02
Jaco SmitPhoto:SUPPLIED

Jaco SmitPhoto:SUPPLIED

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ONE athlete, one sport, and two potential gold medals.

Add to that 200 metres, 400 metres, T12 and N2. And you get a whole lot of numbers, but, most importantly, a drive that surpasses all obstacles.

Jaco Smit (29) spends most of his time dri-ving up and down between Humansdorp and Port Elizabeth on his mission to win gold in the 200m and 400m events at the 2017 IPC Athletics World Cham- pionships to be held in London in July, this year.

This follows after Smit, who trains with coach Gerrie Posthumus at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, bagged three medals at the recent Nedbank National Cham- pionships for the Physically Disabled in Port Elizabeth.

He won a gold medal in the T12 (partially-sighted) 400m event, and a silver medal in the T12 200m event - securing a World Qualifying Standard Time for both events with a time of 0:51:40 and 0:22:91 respectively. With a distance of 5:90m, he secured a silver medal in the T12 long jump event.

“Competing against last year’s winners, these medals came as a triumphant victory,” says Smit.

“It proved to me that I am good enough to compete with the rest of the world.”

The Nedbank National Championships is a highlight on the South African Disabled calendar and is recognised as one of the main stepping-stones towards selection for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 - Smit’s ultimate goal.

Smit, who has had a passion for running since a very young age, only started competing in disabled athletics from 2013. Prior to that, he competed against able- bodied athletes.

From 2014 to 2016 he won a total of nine medals: four gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals.

But winning medals takes hard work and dedication.

He trains three times a week at the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport, and does track training three days of the week. “However, training is much more than just going to the gym or track. It is a lifestyle. I must do daily core work, watch my diet and ensure that I get enough rest - all in all, achieve the perfect balance.”

In addition to being a professional athlete, Smit does voluntary work for Retina South Africa. He is also actively involved with his church and plays the guitar.

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