Happy birthday, IPC!

Among the various sporting events ending 2019, we are also celebrating the International Paralympic Committee’s 30th anniversary

Time flies when you’re having fun. What a year it has been! I have been living out of suitcases for the past few months, attending the African Games in Morocco, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Chef de Mission meeting and, last week, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s general assembly and 30th anniversary at its headquarters in Bonn, Germany.

What a privilege to be part of this amazing organisation that has not only transformed my life as a person with a disability, but those of millions of people with disabilities. Happy 30th birthday, IPC, and here’s to the next 30 years!

The IPC is in the process of producing a movie that will showcase the birth of the paralympic movement and its progression till now to show the growth and acceptance of sport for people with disabilities. We saw a small teaser while we were there and … Wow! It promises to be a real tear-jerker.

As I’m writing this, we’re getting ready to attend the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, which will take place from November 7 to 15. A team of 25 athletes and one guide has been selected to represent South Africa. We are expecting great things from them.

This event is a key opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and only the best of the best have been selected to go.

Last weekend saw the finals of the 2019 SuperSport Wheelchair Basketball Series at the Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Centre. A very exciting final game took place between the Diesel Electric Services Eagles and Kiloskar Lions, with the Kiloskar Lions taking the win in the last quarter.

To Diesel Electric Services and Kiloskar, a massive thank you for your sponsorship of these two teams. Without sponsors, teams really struggle. Also, a huge thank you to SuperSport for its continued support of wheelchair basketball. This will hopefully assist our national teams in their bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Yes, 2020 is almost here and it feels like yesterday when we were in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the previous Paralympic Games. Next year is going to be epic in the lead-up to the games, with some exceptional sporting events happening and culminating at the Paralympic Games. I have been lucky enough to have visited Tokyo several times.

Let me tell you once again … If you can make it to the games, please do so! They are going to be amazing.


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.

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