The South African Para athletes finished 2017 with a bang and are now looking to conquer 2018. First up is the Commonwealth Games.
Happy 2018! May this year bring all the best to our Para athletes as they begin their quest in earnest for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The World Para Swimming and Powerlifting Championships took place in Mexico City from December 2 to 7, 2017. The swimming team did extremely well, winning three silver medals through the very exciting young talent of Christian Sadie, and one bronze medal by the young talented Franco Smit.
Many of the other swimmers swam personal bests and we have an exciting group of young swimmers looking good for the future.
Wheelchair Basketball South Africa hosted the IWBF Africa World Championship Qualifiers from November18 to 24, 2017 at the Tongaat Indoor Sports Centre, City of Ethekwini, KwaZulu-Natal. Neither the South African men’s and women’s teams qualified this time, but they’re undaunted.
Congratulations to the Morocco men’s team and the Algerian women’s team for winning the tournament and qualifying for the world championships. Let’s hope that the South African teams go from strength to strength in the build-up to the qualifier for Tokyo 2020.
We now eagerly await the Commonwealth Games hosted in the Gold Coast (GC), Australia, from April 4 to 15. The following South African Para athletes will be participating in the men’s athletics: Ndodomzi Ntutu, Hilton Langenhoven, Dyan Buis, Charl du Toit, Union Sekailwe, Reinhardt Hamman and Juanre Jenkinson. Juanelie Meijer will be participating in the women’s category.
The South African Para swimmers that will be participating at the GC2018 are Christian Sadie and Kaleb van der Merwe. Ricardo Fitzpatrick will be representing the country in Para powerlifting, while Theo Cogill will showcase his talent in the Para Table Tennis.
For the Para lawn bowls, Princess Schroeder will be participating in the women’s category with Annatjie van Rooyen as director, while Tobias Botha, Willem Viljoen, Christopher Patton and Philippus Walker represent the men. Graham Ward will be the director for the men’s team.
Congratulations to the chosen teams and good luck at the games.
I am also the Vice President of the African Paralympic Committee and we, as the committee, are pushing to host the first African Paralympic Games. This will be a massive endeavour and we are currently negotiating at high levels across the continent to make this a reality, so watch this space!
The athletic season will start soon and we will keep you updated on everyone’s results and achievements across all the sports. Cheers!
Leon Fleiser has been involved with sport in the disability sector since 1992, when he started playing wheelchair basketball. He captained the national team to the Sydney Paralympic Games and the 2002 World Championships. He started working for Disability Sport South Africa in 2001 as a Coordinator for High Performance. It merged into SASCOC in 2005 and he is now the Manager for Team Preparation and Academy Systems. He has delivered Team South Africa to numerous Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and African Games.