Ilse Hayes SA Paralympic Passion for Sport

Multiple Paralympic medalist Ilse Hayes continues to spirit South Africa’s passion for sport. Born in Stellenbosch, Western Cape on  the 30th August 1985, Ilse Hayes harvested her love for sport at an early age before the onset of her visual impairment. Her achievements has led to her being internationally recognised as an iconic sportswoman.

Hayes made her international debut  at the 2002 world championship in Lille France where she took home gold for the 400m T13 and bronze in the 100m T13 Sprint. This, however was not where she discovered her love for sport. At the age of 6, Hayes participated in gymnastics, tennis and netball, but chose to focus on athletics after being diagnosed with Stargardts disease at 11 years old. Stargardts disease is a congenital disease which limits the eye from focusing on detail resulting in the loss of central vision. She honed her athletic abilities at the Maties para sport club, Stellenbosch. In conjunction with pursuing a career in athletics, Hayes attained a degree in sport science with honours in paediatrics.

Despite her circumstances , Hayes remains grateful for her visual impairment and all that it has brought to her life. “More good things than negative things came out of this” , says Hayes. Her optimistic attitude undoubtedly fuelled her success both on and off the track.

Proceeding her participation in the 2002 world championship, Hayes sport career began to pick up it’s pace. Some of her latest accomplishments include:

London 2017 world championship

100m T13- silver

200m T13-silver

Rio 2016 Paralympic games

100m T13- silver

400m T13-silver

Doha 2015 world championship

100m T13-gold

200m T13- gold

Lyon 2012 world championship

Long jump T13- gold

100m T13- silver

London 2012 Paralympic games

Long jump F13-gold

100m T13- silver

Beijing 2008 Paralympic games

Long jump F13-gold

100m T13-silver

In 2015 Hayes was labelled  the world’s fastest para-athlete after completing the 100m T13 in 11.89 seconds at the Grand Prix in Sao Paulo Brazil. In recognition of her passion and relentless attitude she was awarded the title “Sportswoman of the year with disability” (2016 South African sport awards). 2013 found Hayes in the spotlight as she received the Order of Ikhamaga in silver, awarded for “her courageous and relentless pursuit of excellence and incredible physical endurance” by the former South African President Jacob Zuma.

Ilse Hayes exhibits all that a sportswoman should posses- passion, courage and perseverance. Despite her retirement she continues to nurture aspiring South African sportswomen through her legacy. Pinkstig  congratulates and thanks her for her contribution to the face of South African sport.

Instagram: @hayesilsa

PINKSTIG celebrates Ilse Hayes for reaching this milestone in her professional career and continues to explore and excel in the world of sport’ 


 written by

Sameera Reid

Wits student Physiotherapy

intern writer at UniMedia Pro

One Comment Add yours

  1. Lorina says:

    Well done ! An inspirational read. You are destined for greatness!

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