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Leon Fleiser
By Leon Fleiser
4 Min Read

A personal look at a sporting great, a renewed sports endeavour – and the imminent Paralympic Games in September!

It’s time to acknowledge an absolute sporting legend – Super Piet, aka Pieter du Preez. For those who do not know him, he is a C6 Quadriplegic. He made world and Ironman history in December 2013 by becoming the first quadriplegic in the world EVER to complete a full Ironman event, finishing in a time of 13h24 – and that was six weeks after he broke his forearm. It is well worth watching this short summary of his race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n5rCZBJfJY.

Over and above this, he is also a world-class hand cyclist and Para athlete. He was also a finalist for the Laureus Sportsman with a Disability award 2015 (and in my view he was unlucky not to win it).

He is an inspiration to quadriplegics all over the world.

I think his amazing wife Ilze says it best: “Pieter has become a true champion and big inspiration in not only South African circles but all over the world. He is constantly contacted by other quadriplegics worldwide, inspiring them to also believe that there is so much more that they can do not only in the sports arena but also in daily activities. He helps them and patients in Rehabilitation centres via social media and video demonstrations to become more independent in their daily tasks. He also does motivational speaking for charity and corporate events. He is an ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run, which is a massive global event raising funds for spinal cord research.” (See our article on this event elsewhere in this issue.)

Pieter is one of those people who make you really proud to be a South African – a true ambassador for this country and for people worldwide who are living with disabilities. An inspiration and motivator extraordinaire, I salute you, sir.

Now for my passion, Wheelchair Basketball. The Supersport Series for 2016 has begun and, at 45 years old, I thought it would be a good idea to play again. Man, I must have been mad: I almost died after my first game, but I’m slowly regaining my fitness and strength and starting to feel like I can make a difference in the league and help some of the youngsters with their game. Please follow it on Supersport and don’t laugh at the old man trying to be a hero…

On another note, Rio is almost upon us! There has been almost constant negative media about the Games – Zika, water quality, construction of venues being delayed etc – but remember we had a negative press in the build-up to the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup too, and yet we delivered the best World Cup ever. I have faith in Rio 2016 to do the same. Let’s get excited instead of being pessimistic, and as before let’s back Team South Africa for Glory #teamSArise.


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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