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Stepping Up

Winner of the 2014 KZN Sports Personality of the Year and KZN Sportsman of the Year, Tyrone Pillay’s been doing the impossible for the most of his 37-year life. Born without a left leg, he first had to overcome a deep-rooted complex about being differently-abled.

“Kids at school can be cruel and they used to call me names like ‘freak’, ‘pirate’ and ‘wooden stick’, but I used sport to show that I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Tyrone Pillay in action during the Men’s Shot Put series on the Open Caixa Loterias 2014 Paralympics Athletics competition at Ibirapuera Sports Complex in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Over the years, I’ve played cricket, volleyball and other sports, but I decided to take athletics to another level. I represented SA at the Paralympic Games in 2016 and have brought home gold, silver and bronze medals in shotput and discus.” As a six-year-old, Tyrone used to envisage himself as an athlete by using a can of deodorant as a relay baton. Now he has his sights set on greater goals.

“I’d like to retire after the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and then concentrate on giving back to those who need support the most…but behind the scenes.”


Tyrone Pillay of South Africa competes in the men’s shot put T42 at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium at the World Championships in Doha 2015.

“I’m doing my best to start a national cricket team for differently-abled individuals. As things stand, this team is only for those who are visually impaired. I also want to continue with my foundation, Step up 500, which is named after the challenge I set myself to climb the 500 steps on the Moses Mabhida Stadium’s arch, despite my fear of heights and using my prosthetic leg. Step up 500 benefits Jumping Kids – an organisation that makes prosthetic legs for children, and the CANSA Care Home. My dad Eho, a real hero, succumbed to cancer.”