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Come this April, Newcastle’s swimming star, Paula van Zyl, will participate in the Para-Olympic trials in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth). The teenage athletic sensation is ecstatic about being invited to participate in the event, competing against some of the most expert swimmers in South Africa. She elaborates, “I feel extremely excited and nervous, but I am also confident.”
The event will take place over six days, from 7 April 2021 to 12 April 2021. During this time, Paula will be setting her sights on the one spot available for female competitors. “The competition is going to be tough, but I am aiming to get good times, and I hope to qualify for the para-Olympics.”
Training six days a week, Paula’s passion for swimming is unmatched, seeing the high school learner consistently pushing herself towards her goal. “I want to see how far I can go, and I am working towards my big dream of taking part in the para-Olympics.” At the Para-Olympics, Paula enthuses she would love to make it all the way to the final heats. But, affirms, “Just being there will already be an honour.”
This is not the first significant event the young athlete has participated in. She has competed in Kenya, participated in the CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International and Recreations Association) World Games 2018 in Spain and clinched the KwaZulu-Natal Sportswoman of the Year with a disability at the KZN Sports Awards back in 2019.
Determined to succeed, Paula emphasises that she owes an enormous thank you to Aqua Adrenaline, the Elite Athlete Development programme in KwaZulu-Natal, the Department of Sports and Recreation, as well as part of the Prime Human Performance Institute—all of which ensure her body operates at peak performance and is ready for each challenge.
Pixelfish Marketing and the Newcastillian – Online News extends its well-wishes to Paula, you are a brilliant Newcastillian!
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