Discus champion Wyludda aiming to make her mark as Paralympian | 12.01.2012
Germany's Ilke Wyludda, the 1996 Olympic Games discus champion who also won at the 1990 and 1994 European Athletics Championships, could make history this summer as the first person to win at both the Olympics and Paralympics.
After having part of her right leg amputated in January last year, after contracting septicaemia, she recently started to train again in a bid to qualify for the Paralympic Games in London this summer.
Wyludda hopes to compete in the shot put in the F58 category in London because the discus is not part of the programme for that disability class and made a discrete debut last month when she threw 6.20m to finish third in a competition in the United Arab Emirates.
She now plans to compete at more disabled indoor competitions in Germany during March.
"It was important for me to watch above all. The whole competition is a lot different from what I was formerly accustomed to. I don't want to make predictions (about her performances), I will train and see what happens,” said Wyludda, whose discus best of 74.56m still ranks her third on the world and European all-time lists for the event.
Wyludda is currently training five days per week and combines it with her job as an anaesthetist at a hospital in Halle. Her coach is once again Gerhard Boettcher, who guided her when she was the best discus thrower in the world.
"After 20 years of training together each of us knows the quirks of the other. Even though he is now a pensioner I am delighted that he has again taken me under his wing,” added Wyludda, who was also an accomplished shot putter with a best of 20.23m.
At present, there is only one sportsman or woman who has won a medal at both the Olympics and also at the Paralympics.
Hungarian fencer Pál Szerkeres won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul but was then confined to a wheelchair after a bus accident and went on to win three gold medals and three bronzes in wheelchair fencing at the Paralympics.