It came down to less than a quarter of a second, but Port Elizabeth paralympian swimmer Kevin Paul knew he had what it took to bring home Paralympic gold.
“We always knew there was going to be something special.
“I just needed to get into the pool and get things done, I guess,” Paul said after the race in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Paul, 25, finished the SB9 100m breaststroke 0.24 seconds ahead of the man who led the race at the halfway mark, in a time of 1 min 4.86 sec, after edging Ukraine’s Denys Debrov in the final strokes of the race.
“It wasn’t my personal best‚ but [it] was never about time‚ it was about getting into that pool and getting to the 100m first.
“I can jump into the pool next week and swim a faster time‚ but it’s not going to get me Paralympic gold‚” Paul said.
“My coach and I discussed this beforehand and it was about going out comfortably and steadily.”
The Port Elizabeth native, who lives and trains in KwaZulu-Natal, last won gold in his signature event eight years ago in Beijing, at the age of 17.