Never too soon!

Leon Fleiser
By Leon Fleiser
3 Min Read

The sporting calendar is filling up and athletes are already preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Preparations have begun for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The next few years will be interesting, as numerous athletes aim to qualify for and attend these games. Some of our top athletes won’t be there, though: Ilse Hayes, Arnu Fourie and Kevin Paul have announced their retirement (although Ilse and Arnu will still complete this season before retiring).

The South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) held its National Championships sponsored by Nedbank in Port Elizabeth at the beginning of April. There is definitely new talent coming through, especially in athletics. Hopefully, these athletes will be ready for Tokyo.

Some great results were recorded in Port Elizabeth, where numerous national and African records and one world record were set. Congratulations go to ex-Paralympic medallist Moekie Grobelaar for being voted in as the President of SASAPD. Good luck Moekie. Knowing you, the organisation will be in safe hands.

So far, because it’s still early in the season, only one athlete has started competing internationally and that is the veteran Ernst van Dyk. In April he came second in the Boston Marathon and fourth in the London Marathon, which doubled as the World Championships. Well done Ernst! Ernst has been the most successful South African athlete ever and just keeps on performing at the highest level. I, for one, feel that he never gets the recognition he so rightly deserves, and I urge all South Africans to acknowledge his multiple achievements across two sporting codes, athletics and handcycling.

A number of our athletes will be attending a few World Para Athletics Grand Prix events over the coming months. Let’s get behind them and give them plenty of support.

The Terence de Bruyn Wheelchair Basketball Cup took place at the Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Sports centre from April 27 to 30. Eight teams fought it out to qualify for the Supersport Series. Read our next issue to find out how they fared.


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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Leon Fleiser
By Leon Fleiser Manager for Team Preparation and Academy Systems
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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