As the first quarter of 2019 comes to an end, we reflect on the various sporting events that took place
Wow, I can’t believe we are already through our first quarter of the year. The sporting season has started in earnest following the Toyota SASAPD National Championships. What an awesome event it was! I was lucky enough to be able to go around and watch all the sport. I had a brilliant time.
I am always in awe when watching the athletes with severe disabilities compete in boccia. I enjoy the competitiveness and tactical aspect of the game. A big shout-out to Toyota South Africa Motors for coming on board and sponsoring these important games. I know this partnership will go from strength to strength.
It was very nostalgic for me to attend the championships in Stellenbosch as that is where my first ever National Championships took place a very long time ago. Little did I know then that sport would become my passion and occupation.
The highlight of the event, though, was when 14-year old Simone Kruger broke the world record in the F38 Discus. This young lady has so much talent and is a legend in the making. Overall a total of seven world records were broken at the championships. Kudos to Athletics South Africa (ASA) for having its National Championships, which took place from April 25 to 27 in Germiston, ratified by the World Para Athletics so that our para athletes could also take part in the championships and have their results recognised.
Thank you and congratulations to ASA on hosting an awesome event! The first World Championships took place on April 29: the World Para Marathon Championships, which formed part of the London Marathon. There were two South African entrants, namely the blind runner Louzanne Coetzee and the wheelchair ace Ernst van Dyk.
They finished ninth and sixth respectively. Coetzee also has a chance of qualifying for the World Para Athletics Championships later in the year.
The Sasol Wheelchair Basketball team took part in the tenth Fazza Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, which was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from May 4 to 11. Many of the games went down to the wire. Our team played the UAE for the seventh- and eighth-place playoff, but could have been playing for a medal, so close were the games.
The Grand Prix season will be starting soon and some of our top athletes will be competing. Let’s get behind them as they try to qualify for Tokyo 2020!
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.