Blind athlete beats his best twice

2019-04-10 06:01
Blind athlete Danie Breitenbach with Oratile Molale (guide). Photo supplied

Blind athlete Danie Breitenbach with Oratile Molale (guide). Photo supplied

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Blind athlete Danie Breitenbach feels awe about his achievement of improving his two national records.

These are the records in the 800 m (2:05.04) and 1 500 m (4:25.59) in the T11 category (completely blind athletes).

He improved both within a day at the Toyota National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Stellenbosch, held from 17 to 21 March.

Breitenbach (24), a final-year Law student at the University of the Free State (UFS) originally set the two national records in 2017.

He said before the event in March, he had not thought it possible to set two new national track records within 18 hours.

The moment of magic came after the first win.

Breitenbach said he gained so much confidence after the first win that he decided to simply go for the ultimate.

With the help of his guide, Oratile Molale, he managed to achieve what seemed impossible.

“I struggled with various injuries over a period of two and a half years, during which I never managed to gain my top form,” said Breitenbach.

“Since January, I was able to train injury-free. I was confident that I could improve on my 800 m record of 2:08.90.

“Having had such a great first race, gave me the confidence to give the 1 500 m record a go the next morning.”

With no 800 m event at the Paralympic Games or the world championships, Breitenbach is hoping to qualify in the 1 500 m for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

“I will have to improve on my time, as they are only taking about the top five in the world.

“I’m sure I can go quicker with another couple of months of training.

“I’ve been to a few international events, but these two records will rate among my best achievements.

“I compete in the 400 m, 800 m, and 1 500 m, but the 800 m is my favourite.

I enjoy the balance between speed and endurance.”

Breitenbach was born with limited vision, but at the age of ten became completely blind after suffering a retinal release.

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