Ernst van Dyk finished third in the men’s wheelchair race at the prestigious Tokyo Marathon in Japan on Sunday, crossing the line in 1:31:30.
With the 44-year-old athlete still challenging for major victories, we take a look back on some of the highlights of his spectacular career thus far.
2004 Athens Paralympics (wheelchair track)
Using his immense power, Van Dyk earns three medals against the speed merchants in middle-distance events. He takes silver in the 800m and 1 500m finals and snatches bronze in the 5 000m. His success signals a turning point for the versatile athlete, however, as he switches his focus to the marathon, and the classic distance will ultimately define his career
2008 Beijing Paralympics (wheelchair road)
After breaking clear of a large lead group in the closing stages, Van Dyk is locked in a three-man battle for the podium places in the T54 marathon. Putting up a fight all the way to the line, he grabs the bronze medal, just one second behind Australian winner Kurt Fearnley. He doesn’t take the win on this occasion, but it is a typically gutsy effort from Van Dyk
2014 Boston Marathon (wheelchair road)
Having made history four years earlier by racking up his ninth victory – a record in any division at the world’s oldest marathon – Van Dyk returns to lift his tally to a remarkable 10 wins. Leading from start to finish, he takes complete control of the race, displaying his vast knowledge of the course and utilising his strength on the hills for a convincing triumph
2015 New York Marathon (wheelchair road)
Ten years after securing his maiden win at the prestigious race in the Big Apple, Van Dyk storms through Central Park to bag his second. Having taken his 10th victory at the Boston Marathon the previous year, he beats local favourite Josh George by one second in a hard-fought battle in New York, cementing his dominance of America’s top 42.2km races
2016 Rio Paralympics (handcyling road)
Making a record seventh successive appearance for South Africa at the Paralympics, Van Dyk capitalises on his experience to win a sprint finish in the men’s road race. At the age of 43, he edges out former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi of Italy to reclaim the handcycling crown he lifted at the 2008 Games in Beijing. It’s his third straight Paralympic road race medal